What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Life Changing Questions Part 2: The Macro Question to Get Past Fuming and Ranting

Yesterday I talked about my quest to find life-changing questions, and shared the great question that was shared with me last week by one of my mentors: "what do other people experience in your presence?"

I've got one "macro" question that has been with me for several years and one "right now" question that's helping me as I wade through my job transition. Macro today, micro tomorrow.

The macro question comes from Scripture and it's one that I've shared here before. In John chapter 1, the first recorded words from Jesus are directed to two guys who just left John the Baptist and have followed him. He asks a very simple question: "what do you want?"

This question has done serious redemptive work in my soul. Many of my hardest days, when I'm praying ranting-type prayers, the Spirit will whisper this question to me in the midst of my fuming: "what do you want?"

The first time around, I think I know what I want. I rail on about circumstances or disappointments or heartaches. But then the question often comes back to me again: "No, Alex, what do you want?"

The second time often helps me to pause and think a little bit deeper about the issues at hand. Maybe there's something beneath the disappointment or circumstantial issue that's going on here. This time around, I'm a bit calmer, beginning to press through the noise in my head to the heart issue at hand.

"What do you want?" often comes a third time. Often by this point, I'm at a deeper, more rested, more contented place. I recognize that my true needs and truest wants are met in Christ.

I repent of being overly-defined by my circumstances. I find the footing to repent of my anxiety and fears, to talk honestly about my disappointments or frustrations without fixing myself more deeply into them.

I find that round three of the question "what do you want?" gets me to the place where I am both honest about where I am and submissive, quieted, glad to be in the presence of my Father who genuinely wants to know "what do you want?" and will not stop asking me until I get to the place of being a real "me."

In the end, we remain a mystery even to ourselves. Only our maker truly knows us.

So much of what I think of as the real me is just a shadow, a small part of me skimming along the surface of life. When that part of me gets offended, it bellows loudly. But that's not what defines me, really.

It's the deeper, more true places that life is found and where life springs from. "What do you want?" three times through helps me to stumble my way into that more expansive, more powerful, more thoughtful place so that I might meet the Lord of my life there. It is the only way that I find out who I really am--and more importantly, who the Lord really is.

"What do you want?" My life question.

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