Each week, I try to think of a nugget that stood out from all the conversations, circumstances and actions that I encountered. This one is an “oldie but goodie” – Ask Questions.
Here are a couple of phrases that I hear on occasion:
- “I just got back from the doctor and he said…”
- “This person is doing this and I am so frustrated…”
- “My spouse and I are not on the same page and I am done…”
- “What do you think…”
Through the course of a week, I am inundated with people, situations and actions that require a response from me. (Some don’t and I have learned good boundaries.) For those that do, I have learned the power of a good question. For this reason, I usually don’t know the answer until I get more information.
I received a call this week from someone who was going to call a friend who was diagnosed with a terrible condition. It is life changing. He wasn’t sure how to call him and bring the Lord into it. I shared with him you can always bring the Lord into it but you won’t know what avenue until you ask some questions. Are they mad? Afraid? Angry? Concerned for their family? Worried about the finances? Wondering where is God in all of this? Is He real? How can you minister to someone when you don’t know where they are at mentally, emotionally, physically or even spiritually?
The principle of asking questions works pretty much in all situations we encounter. I recognize that some are straight forward. Yet, in dealing with people, the more you can ask questions, you are giving them the opportunity to unveil more of what they think. It can be personal, an attitude they have, situations they have encountered in the past, their rationale…it opens the door for you to understand them a little more. I have seen it work in counseling, business, leadership, relationship building and even learning someone’s story.
What stops people from asking questions? Here is a shocker…we think we know the answer already. Sometimes this is true. However, I have found that by asking at least a couple of questions, I have a better understanding of the situation or person. Usually, he will feel that they have been heard. I will usually soften my tendency to be critical. If I think I “got it,” then I am missing the opportunity to add these benefits to my involvement.
Here’s a question for you…What is going to stop you from doing this today?