A former client sent me in the middle of letter a very kind testimony to how she was impacted by our time together several years ago:
I asked this her to elaborate more on how questions were formative for her in that process.
Although her answer is more testimony, my point is not to point to my work with this client and how it impacted her. Rather, I want you to be encouraged to see the value of asking loving but penetrating questions in relationships with others is a critical component of discipleship. Ask yourself as you read this person’s testimony, “to what extent do my conversations with others around me carry elements of these kinds of questions?”
1- of course questions were a significant part of the process for me. I feel as though questions were the process. Since you were willing to ask the tough questions and go past surface answers, I was able to do so as well. If questions of what God was doing, were/are we going in God’s direction, etc. are not asked by trusted confidants, then how do we grow?
2- Because questions remain pivotal in my life today, I can ask them of myself and God. I’m willing and able, fully able to trust that when I ask a question like “God, I’m not sure what the next step is regarding needing to move out of our house. Do we try to stay? Do we sell everything? Do we just wait and sit on our hands?” And when God answers with something like, “You don’t need this ‘stuff'” I can’t get upset with Him, I did ask after all. So learning how to ask questions, any question, and then taking the answer and acting-I’ve learned that’s part of this whole life process, acting. You can be shown how to ask a question (that it’s ok to do so) and I think that’s something you modeled for me…asking specific questions about specific topics and not shying away from the toughness that is life. But I also learned that we’ll get answers. And your guidance showed me that we are required to be obedient to those answers, whatever they are. We did ask after all.
3- Passing it onto others? Here we go, the first thing that pops into my head is a girl at a former church who I gave a ride home after every Girls’ Night. (I used to lead this on Monday nights for youth aged girls-bible study, relating, figuring out scripture alongside them, living life etc.) She had a major distrust of many people and we often got in deeper discussions on the car ride home than we had miles to her house. So we’d sit and talk in her driveway. She’d ask questions of me “is it normal to feel _____” and so we’d chat. Or “H-, I hate that this happened and now…” But because I was willing to listen to her and the leading of the Holy Spirit at the same time, I feel it was easier to then ask questions of her. It took gaining her trust, the same way others have had to do of me, in order for her to be open to even questioning in the first place. But recalling how you were patient and yet firm at asking questions when perhaps I didn’t want to play, helped me help her. By questioning with others and dialoging that way with God, I think we’re able to better see what it is He’s wanting us to do…usually to move in a closer relationship with Him.
By the way, at #3 where I said the first thing that popped to my mind…that’s something else you showed me. That if we’re in tune with God’s leading, and if we’re constantly seeking Him, and praying continually, the thoughts of your brain really aren’t just “your” thoughts. I knew that even as I doubted whether that story was the one to use, it was the one to use. Remember those times we’d pray in your office and ask God to show us where to move next, what to talk about next, to show me what needed to be brought up? We asked these questions. And He never failed. We always had a clear direction to follow, even if I didn’t always want to participate…yet through obedience I would. I knew that He wanted it and because you were willing to continue asking of me and continue pushing (in a good way of course) I’d become that willing participant. Some days were not easy, as the questions were tough and the answers even tougher. But because we would ask of Him where to go, what to say, what I needed to see, etc. we were able to move forward and keep working.