As each new year unfolds, I carve out some time for silence and solitude for the sole purpose of making space to reflect and refocus. Once a pipe dream in a house full of children, it’s now possible in this empty nest season.
One evening, I picked up Chinese takeout from my favorite place and just for grins, I ate the fortune cookie first. I’m not superstitious, but I always read the quippy “fortune”—for amusement but certainly not for life direction.
But this time, I was more than amused; I was intrigued. When I unrolled the tiny paper, my eyes fell on these words:
“There is never any harm in asking an honest question.”
And it hit me—that’s what I’m trying to do.
I hadn’t framed it that way, but asking honest questions is precisely the point of my cadence in this new year—walking slow in nature, studying sacred text, praying long, and listening hard.
Goodness knows I want answers. If we’re honest, we always want all the answers.
But maybe it isn’t about knowing the answers. Maybe wisdom lies in asking the questions.
Who did God create me to be?
Am I spending my time, energy and relationships in ways that honor that purpose?
What insights is God trying to give me in this season of life?
How can I live, love, and lead well no matter what circumstances are swirling around me?
We are all living in times that could engulf us in a sense of chaos if we succumb. And when you add personal losses or transitions to the mix, you can spiral into despair.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
More than ever, I’m keenly aware that I don’t have the answers to the issues plaguing our nation, or even the ones plaguing my own family. I’m guessing you don’t feel particularly enlightened either.
But even when I don’t have the answers, I can ask honest questions. And listen.
God is everywhere, always speaking. He’s endlessly creative with communication, and He knows how to reach us in our deepest need.
But He’s not going to shout over our busyness. He’s not likely to interrupt our addictions or block our numbing behaviors to get our attention.
God will not hurry to catch up to us.
But there’s good news. He promises to wait patiently for us to slow down to His rhythm and listen to the still, small voice that always guides us toward peace, truth and trust.
Maybe that’s better than knowing the answers anyway.