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3 Important questions we should ask ourselves — and others — in the New Year

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Life is busy, but these conversation starters can both challenge and change people's lives.

Life is busy. Whether it’s school, holiday planning, family gatherings or social outings, it is a wonder if we have enough time in the day to complete all our tasks. Due to this busyness, we can forget to “check-in” on one another. We forget to ask the questions that sometimes we all need to ask. In all of life’s busyness, we can rush from one thing to the next or one person to the next without addressing serious needs or asking the right questions.

As I spend time looking at my own life, priorities and how I would like my relationships to be this new year, here are some questions I would like to incorporate in my conversations in 2019.

How are you doing spiritually?

I got this question a few weeks ago and it is the question that sparked the writing of this article. I was having my biweekly dinner with my second parents. I sat down at their table and after prayer and was about to indulge in a delicious dish, when my second dad asked, “Nicole, how are you doing spiritually?” If it weren’t obvious that this question struck me by surprise, I’m sure my face didn’t hide my thoughts. In my mind, I immediately thought. Huh? Who asks a question like that? Now, this question would have been even weirder if my second dad wasn’t also my pastor.

Obviously, he had a reason for asking this and I shouldn’t assume that it’s coming from any other place than simply wanting to know how I’m doing spiritually. While I answered, and I was happy to share, I was taken aback at how I responded internally. It was as if no one was supposed to ask me that question. Why not ask me how my day was or what did I do today? The reason for this response is because no one ever asks me this question. It was clear the “deep-make a person think-where are you at this moment” questions were missing from my life.

How are you managing your money?

Last year was a huge struggle year for me. I lost my mom, grandmom, and my job. If valleys exist, I was in the deepest one. With much prayer, perseverance, and a good support system, I managed to stay afloat. However, in the mist of these trials, I remember a text I received that said something along the lines of, “I enjoy your upbeat personality and go-get-’em attitude, but sometimes that demeanor keeps people from knowing how you really are and how to help you. How are you really doing financially, and emotionally?”

This text was the breath of fresh air that I needed. It forced me to take a hard look at myself and the mask I was wearing and realize that people do care about how I’m doing, but they won’t know how to help if I don’t tell them or if I am always acting like everything is “good,” when it really isn’t.

This question gave me the confidence I needed to be vulnerable and receive the help that I needed.

When’s the last time you spoke to your loved ones?

In life’s busyness, the important people in our lives can go overlooked if they aren’t in our immediate environment. Moving away from home gave me lots of freedom, but it also enabled me to be more intentional about checking in with my family. My friends help me in this by asking me when’s the last time I spoke with them. Having people in our lives willing to check us on the lack of checking on them is a gift.

I’ve come to learn that deep questions reveal the truth and that’s what we want to ensure our priorities are on track. Deep questions help us identify our priorities and keep the main things as the main thing. With the new year right around the corner, my goal is to challenge myself to ask deep questions and to challenge those closest to me to do the same for me.

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