A question. The power to invite the experiences of another person into your world, your space. It’s powerful.
I used to think talking was a curse. I did a lot of it. Still do (hence me taking to writing). But I’m learning that it isn’t the talking that’s the curse, it’s the lack of listening.
The wise ‘ol saying “you have 2 ears & 1 mouth” runs true. This isn’t just to shut you up, this is to tune you into the fact that listening first is the best way to know what to say. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone that always “seems” to know what you are about to say and they just have to cut you off to complete your sentence?! While sometimes they may get it right, it often is annoying and leaves you wanting to end the conversation right then and there. Believe me, I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of this. It’s not enjoyable.
Proverbs is a great resource when you feel like you need a refresher on wisdom. I love the verse “Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.” (Proverbs 21:23) I feel like we all miss the mark from time to time when we speak too soon, out of turn or without knowledge of a situation. We say things that can hurt, push away or break down those we love.
So back to the word question, this is where I have found my answer. People love telling you their story, they love to talk about themselves. It’s not vain, just true. It makes them feel valued, desired, known. If you walk into a room and instead of immediately talking about yourself, you ask a genuine question to the first person you see, it’s amazing the response you will get. You will find yourself getting wrapped into a conversation filled with intrigue, excitement and depth. You become enthralled with what you are discovering and the questions keep flowing. After the conversation is over, hopefully assuming they also asked questions, you leave feeling like you actually know this person and they you. This space is where you find vulnerability, truth, reality. This is where life happens and relationships are born.
So before you go to your next event, outing or play date, I urge you, stop talking and start asking. Ask good, genuine questions. Try to learn 3 new things about that person. Then wait. Wait to see how their body language opens and their curiosity peaks. Peaks to know you, what your story is and where you are going.
I am so grateful that I have discovered this small but life changing detail. I’ve become such an addicted listener, I’ve gone hours without uttering one comment about myself and it’s amazing! I sometimes wish others would ask me questions, want to know my story. But I understand that this is not something everyone is aware of just yet. Some are still trying to find their seat at the table and don’t realize it is being held by a simple question, “May I sit here?”
So I leave you with this, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) I find it quite poetic that God himself tells us wisdom is found in a question.