Have you ever done a random Google deep-dive?
Half way through a TV show, you swear you recognise that actor; next minute, you’re researching their entire filmography, how old they are, where they grew up, who they’re married to, what they do in their spare time, what sort of person they really are off screen…
Or, lying in bed at midnight having had a little too much time to yourself, you decide to research everything there is to know about introverts, the enneagram and what makes you you…
Or, chatting with a friend, you suddenly realise that neither of you know the answers to some of life’s big questions: Is water wet or does it just make things wet? Can dogs really not look up? Does everybody see colours the same as me? How can there be such things as unsolvable maths problems? Why are cats afraid of cucumbers?
In case you can’t tell from this treasure trove of trivia (that I’ve definitely alreadygoogled) I’m a deeply curious person. I share this not as a confession but with a level of pride. I’m proud to be curious. I should be curious.
Because the world is endlessly fascinating. So are people. And as we explore, question and learn about it, and each other, we grow. Our relationships with the world and the people around us become more enhanced, more developed, more profound. Our lives become more enriched and whole. And what’s amazing is that no matter how much we explore and question and learn there is always more to explore and question and learn about.
Curiosity is the wonderful hunger that drives our lives forwards. I believe it’s hard-wired into our DNA: God has designed us to be curious creatures. Isn’t that why you’re a student? Because you want to discover more about a particular subject, more about yourself, more about life in general? Isn’t that why you’re still reading? Because you want to know where I’m going with all this…?
Here’s where I’m going…
Curiosity is a life-giving impulse which, at its best, can drive us to the most amazing discoveries and achievements. It can lead us into new and deeper friendships. It can encourage us to try new ventures. It can push us to explore, listen to, question and challenge the people, places, politics and philosophies that surround us.
BUT, like any impulse, curiosity needs to be fed in the right way, and with the right things.
Sometimes, if we’re honest, it is far easier and immediately enjoyable to satisfy our innate hunger to learn and discover and question by bingeing on junk. It’s less effort to google why cats are scared of cucumbers than to ask big faith questions. It’s more comfortable to explore and discuss the lives of those on Love Island than to explore and discuss the lives of our housemates. It’s less vulnerable to see what we look like under the influence of various Snapchat filters, than to question the biases and privileges through which we subconsciously filter the world around us.
It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with cat vids, Love Island or Snapchat filters. But we need to remember that not everything we’re curious about is necessarily going to nourish us in the right way. Not all questions are equal. In the same way that we need a balanced diet of food to live healthier, happier lives, I’m convinced we need a diet of good questions to be happier and healthier too.
The truth is, we all crave real relationships, real learning, real growth. But we often feel starved of these things because we fail to feed our curiosity properly – often because we don’t know how. Asking good questions, like making good food, is a skill. It takes time and effort to learn. It requires humility, vulnerability, and practice. There is a price attached to learning how to feed curiosity well. The question is – are you prepared to pay it?
If you’re still not sure whether or not you’re up for it, or you’re looking for inspiration about where to start with asking good questions, I strongly recommend that you take a look at Jesus. He is an iconic, expert questioner. He has this innate ability to ask questions, both explicitly and implicitly, that strip back layers of pretence in people, and help them realise who they really are. His questions cut right through widely accepted ideas and practices and shine a light on their blindspots and inconsistencies. His whole ministry was one of enigmatic questions that carried the power to transform people, places, politics and philosophies. Don’t believe me? Check out Luke 10:25-37!
Here’s the nub of it all: your curiosity is a gift! Invest in it, use it wisely, feed it well. If you do, it can open up higher grades, more intimate relationships, more childlike wonder, more profound faith, more fun and adventure, more personal growth, more life for you and others. That’s what I think anyway.
But don’t take my word for it – if I’ve piqued your curiosity, maybe ask some good questions:
- What about all of this rings true for you?
- What makes a question ‘good’?
- How well practised are you at asking good questions?
- In what ways might better questions enrich your life, and the lives of those around you?
- What can you ask today, to healthily nourish your curiosity?
by Michael Wadsworth
Michael is part of a worshipping community in Derby and at the time of writing was Training Developer & Grad-Dip Programme Director for Fusion. They have produced some amazing resources to help you ask great questions, including the ‘DMC Deck’ – head to fusionmovement.org to check them out!