Humans like to ask questions. It’s how we get to know each other and maintain closeness. It’s how we learn when encouragement or celebration or prayer is necessary. Questioning leads us to truth and freedom. But questions offer us more than insight into specific lives and stories. The kinds of questions we default to can also point to what a culture values.
There’s that friend who’s married without kids. The silent sufferer who cries prayerful pleas on her knees while her husband holds her tight. Her current task is dependence, not bearing children she so desperately wants to mother.
She fights for joy in her trial, but the questions of outsiders don’t stop.
There’s the story laced with singleness. She hit 30 last year and loves life. Sure her spouseless existence stings from time to time if she chooses to ponder what she doesn’t have. But there is much to be thankful for, and out of her abundance, she gives to others.
She’s grateful for God’s guidance, but the inquiries of outsiders don’t stop.
The point is not that the questions and suggestions are present. The point is that they are prevalent. The church should be a place where all statuses can flourish, and when the focus of conversation is narrowed on what is natural, we miss opportunities for the supernatural to rain its blessings.
But more than that, it speaks to what the culture prizes. Luke 6:45 tells us that “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” If the first topic we turn to when greeting one another has to do with status, then we need to ask ourselves how much we treasure earthly things in comparison to eternal things. Marriage and parenthood are beautiful pictures of the gospel and wonderful gifts from God, but by the way some conversations proceed, you would think they are the point of our existence. And it makes sense. When God’s good design gets sprinkled with the lies of the culture, stirred up, and sold to the masses as real love, no congregation is safe. [Disclaimer: please take what I’m about to say with a heaping spoonful of sisterly love] I’m afraid many marriages in the church have fallen prey to this cultural phenomenon and in fact, perpetuate ideas like marriage being the best thing that can ever happen to you and motherhood being the highest calling. So it’s no wonder that the first topic that comes to mind in social situations is where others fall on the marriage and pregnancy spectrum.
I dream of a day when the first questions in the gathering of God’s children have nothing to do with status. I dream of a day when upon greeting one another, Jesus’ followers inquire about His Kingdom.
Ya, that’s great that you’re dating someone or hoping to have kids in the next year. I’m sincerely glad to hear about those things. I’m also interested in how God is using you to build that which is not of this world. Who are you discipling? And if you aren’t, when are you going to start praying about who to pursue? What is God teaching you right now? He calls us into statuses and stories with eternal outcomes in mind, and our questions can have the ability to call what is long-lasting out of the everyday. As followers of Christ, let’s purpose to trade what is instinctive for the richer conversations that challenge, uplift, and have eternal value.
Love (I promise),