the gift of questions

I’ve never participated in a writing prompt before. Truthfully, I’m feeling scared. I remember my glory days — er, creative writing glory days — like a fallen high school football star. The half-bliss, half-despair. Was I ever that good, or did I just imagine it? Did I have potential and waste it?  

But the most common cure for writer’s block, in high school, at least, was a good prompt. So here I am. Diving in head-first, friends!

Complete the following sentence:  A gift you’ve recently received from God. 
Approach it any way you’d like.  Only requirement: Keep it real.


A gift I’ve recently received from God is . . . questions.

I considered changing majors about a dozen times in college. Still couldn’t choose, so I double-majored. And after graduation, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve wanted to change my career. But change it to what?

People, I love. Communications, I love. Working towards the better good, I love. But can’t you do that in so many different ways?

Bouts of certainty and bouts of uncertainty weave throughout my career. Recently, I’ve been on the uncertain end of things. I’ve thrown out questions on my purpose, my identity, my goals, my field, my mission. Especially as I balance this half-the-week consulting role, I’m questioning what to do and where to focus. I know I love the people I work with — and I know I treasure the work they invite me to do. But what next?

On Tuesday night, I shared those questions ambiguously with a small group from my church. And I said it calmly and with a half-smile, but there is an inward panic whenever I bring it up. I asked for prayer for clarity and meaning and purpose and direction.

Today, though, I see it as a gift. It’s God’s gift, and rich grace, that I have the privilege and opportunity to ask these questions today. To question what my purpose is, to question what my role in the future should be.

Today, I banish the notion that the questions are scary. Questions are a good place to start, a good place to start to find answers. Today, the questions make me free. Free to wonder, free to dream, free to plan sometimes and scratch the plans later. Free to set goals and change them. Free to know that I’m needed . . . free to question just where that is.


13 thoughts on “the gift of questions

  1. Sarah, you are in a good place. Take your time! Here’s advice from Rainer Maria Rilke in his Letter to a Young Poet: “…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
    Peaceful blessings to you!

    • Mari-Ann, thanks for sharing! I especially love this: “..without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” Living into the answers . . . that is a breath of fresh air.

  2. I agree that questions are a gift … as are the multiple opportunities and choices that we often have. When uncertainty causes me to panic, I try to remind myself that if I trust the Lord, I have no reason to be afraid.

    Praying right now for clarity and guidance: questions aren’t bad, but neither are answers. 🙂 If we follow God’s leading, we can’t go wrong.

    • Thank you, Melissa. Training myself each day to appreciate choices and questions, rather than just wish them away.

  3. My daughter came home telling of questions she asked in Bible class last night. She is definitely my child (as I am my father’s). We all ask questions. It’s the way to get answers. You’re doing great with the writing prompt! Hope you’ll join us more.

  4. I agree that a good prompt is a great way to help with writer’s block!

    And this a beautiful perspective: “It’s God’s gift, and rich grace, that I have the privilege and opportunity to ask these questions today.”

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Caroline, thanks for visiting! This is a perspective that has only recently been revealed to me. I have a long way to go! 🙂

  5. Sarah, you are a great communicator and an awesome writer. You just gave us all permission and value in walking by faith: asking questions. I felt a smile creep across my heart as I read your paragraphs – embrace that spot where you are exploring q’s with God. You’re smack dab in the adventure of faith! Great to have you in the faith jam! Yay!

    • Bonnie — thanks so much for your kind words! Really brought tears to my eyes. I suppose that is what it means to walk in faith . . . to ask questions and trust that it’s okay to not have all the answers. Can’t wait to write in the faith jam again! (And congrats on the book!)

  6. Sarah, thank you. I don’t think I have ever focused on the fact that questions are gifts. How would we explore without questions? Not only are questions adventurous, but they’re a piece of our communication with God, allowing for true intimacy. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    • Jennifer, thanks for your kindness and grace. Questions are indeed a piece of communication. I struggle with that sometimes; thanks for reminding me that there is intimacy to be built within the questioning. (Love your blog too!)

  7. I have children who have so many questions and it gives me comfort to know that King David also questioned God at times. God was never angry but worked with him. It is a gift to be able to bring our uncertainties before God

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