asking the right questions

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checklist{a repost from the archives – I was going to do a post on the importance of a to do list and this old post from the archives caught my attention.  We must start here first…a new post on using to do lists will come later!}

As I have shared before, I am a list-maker.  I love making lists and checking them off…such a sense of accomplishment.  Unfortunately, this mentality can spill over into many areas of my life…parenting, homeschooling, my Christian walk, etc.  I become so focused on the “doing” of things that I forget about the most important thing…who I am to “be”.

I want to quote here again from the excellent article by Reb Bradley, Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling

On the evening of Easter Sunday in 1988 Pastor Wurmbrand was speaking to our newly planted church when it was meeting in our home.  He finished what he wanted to say to us and opened the floor for questions.  My wife Beverly was first to speak and asked him what we could do as a new church to grow, be healthy, and advance the kingdom.  His response took us off guard – he said, “I do not have the answer to that question.  Who has the next question?”  He then took a question from a young man, a political activist, who wanted to know what we could do in America to prevent the same kind of persecution the church endured in Romania.  In response, Pastor Wurmbrand said, “I cannot answer this question either.  And now I want to tell you why.  I cannot answer your questions because they are the wrong questions.  To ask, “What must I do…?” is like asking “What is the melody of a prune?”  A prune has no melody.  As Christians we cannot ask “What must I do….?”  We must ask “What must I be…?”

His point was that fruitful Christianity comes from the inside out – from who we are – not from what we do.  At issue is not the appearance of love, but actually having it.

Strong relationships are not forged by the path we are on, the steps we are taking, but by our love for each other.

In my own life, I have been asking the wrong questions.

In parenting, I ask…”What steps do I need to take to raise Godly children?”  “What must I do as a parent to pass on this legacy?”

In homeschooling, I ask…”What subjects should I cover with the kids?”  “What steps do I take to ensure they are well educated and prepared for life?”

In my Christian walk, I ask…”What should I be doing every day to be a good Christian?”  “What disciplines do I need to have in my life?”

Now all these questions are not bad questions to ask…but they don’t go deep enough.  They only deal with the outside…not the heart…with who I AM.

Growing up in a Christian home, I was well versed in the right things to “do”.  As a child, I was always pretty compliant and did whatever my parents told me to do…most of the time doing the right things.  But as I have grown older I am realizing that my life must go deeper than just doing the right things.  In all areas of my life, it is easy to hide behind a list of things I do…thinking that in some way that describes who I am.  Yes, in a way it does describe who I am, but it isn’t the full picture.  Yes, the things I do can be the “fruit” of what is in my heart…but what I do can also be a way to avoid a more important question…”What must I be…?”

My focus must change…

My questions must change…

I need to be asking “What must I be…?”

Am I just showing love….or do I LOVE?

Am I teaching my children about God…or do they see God in me?

Am I here in body only…or am I really here…for the kids…for my home?

Am I checking off my to do list for the day, glad it is all over and done…or am I living my life fully in joy?

Am I putting my kids through the next list of parenting ideas from the latest parenting book…or do I love my children enough to seek the Lord and parent in love and grace?

Am I going through the motions of daily Bible reading and prayer so that I can feel good about my Christian walk…or do I have a deep love for the Lord that makes me hunger for His Word so much that not a day goes by without reading it and spending time in prayer.

It is easy to go through the steps of life…it is much more difficult to actually LOVE and LIVE.

My desire is to fully LOVE and LIVE for Him.  To ask the right questions now so that my relationships with my children, with my husband, with others, will be deepened through our love for each other…not by a list of things that we do.

How about you?  Are you asking the right questions?

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  1. I remember reading this post earlier, and am glad you reposted it; it's so important to think about not just what I should do, but what I should be. Thank you, Sheri; this is an important message.
  2. Sheri, I have been thinking along similar lines lately. My problem is really reverse of yours, I can't seem to focus on staying on task and getting my to do lists done or even written sometimes! ;) But I'm working on it I'm sure there is a balance. I do though still find myself, like you, thinking that I need to be doing more and wondering what I need to DO better. It's funny how that's what we tend to focus on. Lately, although I do want to learn to manage my time better, I have thought a lot about BECOMING! I want to become the person God sees! To do lists can potentially help with that but only if my heart is right and if I'm asking the right questions! I don't want to be the wife and mother that, "gets alot done" I want to "LOVE much and BE the best I can!" Thanks so much for your thoughts they have helped me put the words to what God has been trying to tell me!

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