My English comp professor freshman year was an amazing teacher. He was great at asking key questions. Twenty years later, I remember a question he asked in response to an overly simplistic essay I wrote on faith: “Could something as complex as all this really be resolved so quickly and simply?” The question caused me not only to question my essay but also my faith formulations.
Asking key questions can be transformative. They help us stay open, humble, and inquisitive. They are like water for personal growth. This is especially true regarding the questions we ask ourselves. Here are 5 key questions to ask yourself each year.
1. Who is influencing me?
Your view of the world doesn’t come completely from within. The people who surround you help shape it. The key question is not whether you’re being influenced by others. It’s “Who is influencing me?” Who are the people who have the most access to you? When you need advice, who do you call? Who do you keep up with on social media? These people will play a significant role in shaping your worldview. Choose wisely.
2. Am I being intentional about spending time with my family?
As a mom, it’s pretty much impossible not to spend time with your family, but how intentional are you? Is your time with them mostly spent checking boxes and getting to the next item on the to-do list? Maybe you’re all in the house together, but everyone is focused on devices. Quality time doesn’t magically happen. When you look back at this time 20 years from now, what would you like to be true about how you spent your time with your family? Do that.
3. What makes me come alive right now?
Do you feel selfish or bitter when you think about doing what you are passionate about? Maybe you don’t even know what would make you come alive. It’s hard for women to discover our passions because a lot of our time is spent keeping others fed, active, and healthy. But it’s worth our attention. What do you believe you were made to do? Or, to quote the poet Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” You aren’t promised tomorrow, let alone next year. So don’t wait to discern your passions.
4. What do my checkbook and calendar say about me?
Money and time are two of our most precious resources. So if you want to know what you really love—what you’re really committed to—check your bank account and your calendar. They’ll tell you what’s most important to you. You’ve probably heard some version of this before. It’s true. Our money and time follow our loves.
5. What am I afraid of?
We’re all afraid of something. And your fear will help shape you and your children. So be honest with yourself. If you have a hard time identifying a fear, ask your husband or best friend what they think it is. Sometimes the people who know us best can see traits in us that we can’t see ourselves. Once you know your fear, share it with someone you trust. When our fears lurk somewhere beneath the surface, they can feel huge and unwieldy. Dragging your fears out into the light helps you see them clearly and helps equip you to conquer them.
What key questions would you add to this list?