What persistent questions are you asking God? What might they reveal about you?
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- John 8:36
My husband and I were involved in youth ministry for 9 years… officially.
As parents of teens, we’re certainly still very actively involved in “youth ministry” to our own kids, but we’re waaay too embarrassing to be official leaders anymore. One thing I always found refreshing and scary about youth ministry was the questions teens ask. They’re just a little less sophisticated than adults, who either don’t ask the hard questions, or find elaborate ways of beating around the bush. Teens just ask.
I’ll never forget the question a teenage girl asked me over coffee one night.
She asked, “How far can I go with a boy and still be okay with God?” At the time, I was a relatively new Christian, not even a parent, and a very green youth leader. So, I was caught totally off guard. My answer was anything but poised and wise. I immediately started sweating and was suddenly keenly aware of the close proximity of the people around us. I’m pretty sure I mumbled something about kissing and boundaries, but I just knew it was a terrible answer. When I got home, I asked my husband, Jason, his opinion, and I’ll never forget his response. He simply said, “She’s asking the wrong question.” What was that supposed to mean??? It seemed like a pretty straight forward, albeit entirely uncomfortable, question to me. Of course, I made him elaborate. He told me that the question revealed her true desires. Ultimately, she wasn’t trying to be free from sin. Instead, she was wondering just how far she could go, i.e. how much freedom she had to sin.
That made me wonder what my own questions about sin revealed about me. Did I see my sin as no big deal? Did I simply want a shortcut for holiness? Or, did I have a heart that wanted to please God? Did I see his boundaries for my life as a freedom, or was I trying to be free from them? I had to confess, my exact struggles weren’t the same, but my heart was. I too wanted to get away with what I could get away with. I was more concerned with appearing holy than I was with actually pleasing God.
Analyzing my own questions still works like a spiritual thermometer for me.
When I really think about the questions I’m asking God, they often reveal my distrust, my sin, or my dissatisfaction. Just the other day, I got to thinking about a persistent question I’d been asking God, and I didn’t like what I found there. I’d been asking him, “Why can’t my life look more like the lives of other people I know?” It seems like a pretty normal question, but when I really thought about it, I felt convicted. I could easily say that my sin was merely jealousy—not good, but that really only scratches the surface. On deeper consideration, my question really was just hiding a bigger question, “God are you enough for me?” Ouch. I’d like to gloss it over or to justify myself somehow. But, that’s just ugly. My question revealed how my comparison with others really wasn’t about wanting what they had, but it was about being satisfied in God himself.
I’d like to say, I’ve figured it all out.
I'd love it if I could say now that God has revealed my dissatisfaction to me, I'm all good. But, it’s still a struggle. Thankfully though, now I at least know what I'm up against, and I’m fighting it tooth and nail. Every time that persistent question pops into my head, I know how to answer it. I recite Psalm 16:2, “I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” I'm claiming God’s goodness and reciting that truth to my own muddled heart. The place where he has set me in life is for my own thriving and his glory. Period.
So, why do I tell you all of this?
I hope it encourages you. I hope it helps you think about the questions you’re asking God right now. If you really analyze them, they just might be the start of finding the true answers your heart needs right now. We must first understand the things that are shackling us if we are ever going to be set free from them.
WHAT QUESTIONS ARE YOU ASKING GOD RIGHT NOW?
WHAT DO THEY REVEAL ABOUT YOUR HEART?
ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO GIVE YOU INSIGHT INTO THE DEEPER REASONS FOR THE QUESTIONS YOUR ASKING.
Natalie co-founded Dwell with her sister, Vera. Together, they're committed to helping others connect with God each and every day. Natalie also hosts our weekly podcast, Dwell Differently. She and her husband, Jason, live in Chicago with their 5 kids, where Jason pastors First Free Church.