Are you asking the right questions?

Photo courtesy of Linda Tanner (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Linda Tanner (Creative Commons)

Have you ever gone through a time when you were so overwhelmed that you couldn’t think straight? What did you do to get out of that place? Did you finally realize you had been asking the wrong kinds of questions?

That’s what happened to me yesterday. In fact, I wrote the following in my journal yesterday morning:

Do you ever feel like the walls are closing in on you and you head is full of cotton and incapable of putting together a clear thought?

Usually when that happens to me, it’s because I have let mental clutter pile up and it’s obscuring…

I couldn’t even finish the sentence. I’ve been so consumed with what I needed to get done that I wasn’t even seeing what was going on around me anymore. I needed a change of perspective.

Just after writing that, I headed out for my daily run. It was overcast and wet, as if it had just recently rained, but was not raining any longer. The sky was just getting light, and everything seemed especially lush and green. The smells of honeysuckle and other blooming things were intoxicating.

There was hardly any traffic, and I felt like I was the only person in the world just then.

I began to pray – for family, for friends, for virtual friends. As I marveled at the goodness of God’s glory around me and realized how thankful I am for the people I have connected to me, a peace washed over me. The stress and tension seemed to slip away leaving me feeling calm.

By getting outside myself and my own troubles and praying for those around me, I realized that the cobwebs in my head had cleared out. I’ve been too self-absorbed to even notice the world around me.

Then I saw a bunny hopping in front of me, and not far from him – an animal. At first I thought it was a dog, but then I realized (and later looked him up online to be sure) that it was a coyote. I kept running. A bit further along, I saw what I thought was a cat on the other side of the road, stealthy and in hunting mode. It occurred to me that he was a little big for a cat, then I saw two deer running the other direction. Again, I came home to look him up and realized he was a bobcat.

When I changed my perspective and quit looking down and inside, these amazing creatures were there – probably all along. No telling how many times I’ve missed them because I was zoned out in my own little world not paying attention.

I wonder how many other sights and people I’m missing for the same reason. Who have I walked past without noticing, thinking of the next thing on my task list? What enriching conversation have I skipped because I was in a hurry to get somewhere else?

How do I need to be connecting differently in my world?

I realize I’ve been approaching things with a “what” mindset instead of a “how” mindset. What can I do? What can you do for me? What can I check off my list as finished?

Life is more meaningful when you ask different questions. How can I make this better? How may I serve you? How should I engage in my world?

So I ask you, what kinds of questions will you ask this week?

2 thoughts on “Are you asking the right questions?

  1. Cool story! Just came back from lunch walk and had a similar experience. Difficult not be mindful when your out in nature.

    • Yes it is. Love that you had a similar experience, and hope you’re asking good questions today!

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