Every stage you pass through as a parent involves some things you love, and some that you want to move on from as soon as possible. With my son, I am in a phase that I both love and hate – and I think many will sympathise: the ‘Why?’ phase. I have to be very careful what I say, because the response is always ‘Why, mummy?’ or ‘What is that?’ and sometimes ‘What does that mean?’
I hate this phase because it is incredibly tiring. It is exhausting drilling down into the minutiae of every last thing. Each bedtime story is interrupted several hundred times to analyse why each character is making the choices they are making. Tasks that should be simple, such as talking to my husband about the evening ahead, become either a minefield of potential questions, or have to be held in our own personal language – a combination of charades, code and spelling words out (although that won’t last as an option too much longer).
But I also love this phase. I love that my son’s mind is inquisitive. I love having to think about things that I have long accepted without question. I love that we are talking – maybe except when we’re late for school and he doesn’t seem to be able to talk and get dressed at the same time.
And I even love that he is always listening, endlessly repeating his question until I can muster up an answer.
We’re all on a constant journey of learning to hear God better, and recently this has meant entering the ‘why’ phase myself – cultivating a questioning mindset. Thankfully, unlike me, God absolutely loves this phase – he is never exhausted of it.
For example, a few days ago while I was cycling, a memory from over a decade ago popped into my head. It isn’t unusual to remember something random, but I noticed that this particular memory contained quite a number of people I was about to spend some time with. So instead of absent-mindedly pushing it to the side, I asked God a few questions about it: Why have you reminded me of that moment? What are you showing me in what they said and how I reacted to it? What are you showing me about my attitude back then?
I find when I ask God questions in this way, I often hear the answer quickly – it isn’t an audible voice but more like a fleeting thought or an instant heart nudge. So on this occasion, through a seemingly innocuous memory where no-one did anything wrong, God revealed to me where my heart partnered with pride and with the religious spirit, and how some spiritual barriers had been raised between myself and a group of others. I was able to repent and pray for the barriers to be broken down, all because I noticed that this memory must have come up for a reason.
I’m also trying to take my prophecy and words of knowledge to the next level with Him. If I have a picture for someone, I try and ask the Holy Spirit for clarity on why different things are in the picture. Or if I’m praying for someone I try and be aware of different senses – for example, asking if the pain I’ve suddenly had in my foot is just my own pain, or related to something God is doing in the person I am praying for. Then I need to ask for deeper clarity as to whether it is a current physical wound, something connected to the past, or something spiritual.
Another thing I’m learning to ask questions about is my time. Sometimes my ‘to do’ list feels overwhelming and I rush into getting things done every spare minute. But when I reach the end of the day I look back and realise that even though I may have completed some tasks, I don’t feel peaceful in my heart. When I come to that free evening or spare 20 minutes before collecting my son from school, nowadays I try to turn to God first and say, ‘What are your plans?’ I find that even if I then go on to work through my list, in the act of inviting Him in, I find that He becomes part of my time, and not separated from it.
There will, of course, be times when God asks us not to question but to trust. This is part of the life of faith He is drawing each one of us into. But I find that in the very act of questioning, just like my son, I have to also listen for an answer. And this questioning is important for all of us who want to deepen our relationship and understanding of God. He is ready to hear all of our questions and longing to take the time to reply. So today, I encourage you to do just that and see what He has to say!
Holy Spirit, open up my mind and my senses to all You have to say. Thank You that there is always so much more for me to learn and understand about all You are doing in my life, and in the physical and spiritual realm around me. Show me where simple questions can lead to greater intimacy, revelation and transformation in You. Amen.
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