Why Do You Ask? {Mantra 25}
—Grace & Truth Linkup

John Steinbeck calls it “a good ear.”

It’s the ability to listen below the surface.

Maybe we don’t need to use this in every conversation (but maybe so?).

But for many conversations, it would benefit our relationships if can use our “good ear.”

In The Listening Life, Adam McHugh encourages us to approach others with curiosity and empathy. Instead of assuming we know what the other person thinks or will say next, realize we don’t know. Listen instead. And use “why” as your best friend.

Some of the “why” questions that McHugh suggests we ask to dive underneath a surface conversation are:

  • Why is that important to you?
  • Why do you feel that way?
  • Why does that bother you?

But McHugh also suggests another time to ask a “why” question. Instead of immediately answering a request for advice with a statement, instead ask another question:

Why do you ask?

By asking, “Why do you ask?” we move a step closer to the heart of the other person. The conversation may turn to the real reason they’ve chosen this topic to talk about.

McHugh writes,

“What unites us is love, flowing between us through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we listen to one another, and give others permission to be their own person and think their own thoughts, we love one another.”

I don’t remember to use this question very often. I want to remember to use it more.

Why do you ask?


Featured Post

Uncovering our true selves with each other is a positive step toward intimacy with each other and with God.

In our featured post today, Maryleigh says we need to give ourselves permission to truly be ourselves.

“Sometimes, it’s feels like I’m waiting for permission to be me, like I need an authoritative or official certificate of permission to be who God designed me to be. Stop waiting for permission!”

When we do this, we also give ourselves permission to love others as we were made to love.

“Be you! Be love! All sorts of good things live in a soul that loves like that!”

Read all of Maryleigh’s wonderful post here, then add your own links below.

Love Doesn’t Need Permission – Love Anyway

How often do you give yourself permission to just be you? Share in the comments.

You are on Day #25 of the series: Find Your Mantra {28 Daily Mantras}

Find Your Mantra: 28 Daily Mantras

Previous:
They don’t have to understand” {Mantra 24}

Next:
Let go or be dragged” {Mantra 26}


1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

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TAMMY KENNINGTON – Restoring hope. Pursuing peace.
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8 thoughts on “Why Do You Ask? {Mantra 25}
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, I like each one of these ‘why’ questions. Each one, in a different way, will give room for open conversation and better listening. And I, too, enjoyed Maryleigh’s post when I read it earlier this week.

  2. Lisa Blair

    This is a great question and reason to press in deeper, Lisa, “By asking, ‘Why do you ask?’ we move a step closer to the heart of the other person. The conversation may turn to the real reason they’ve chosen this topic to talk about.”

  3. Jerralea Winn Miller

    I tease my husband all the time because he is always asking “why” questions. But I really do not do it that well myself. I’ll need to focus on asking “why do you ask,” of everyone else. I ask my husband that question and he just says “because I want to know!” LOL.

  4. Calvonia

    I love this mantra. Recently someone coached me to prompt the talker during casual conversation, “Tell me more”. Today you coach me to ask more Why’s. I need this. It will prevent me from assuming, which we know is dangerous.

  5. Anita Ojeda

    Oh, this is another good one, Lisa! I need to remember to use this one more often instead of just assuming I know why someone asked something. I’ve also used it a time or two when someone asked me an impertinent question ;).

  6. Maryleigh

    How I need to learn to listen below the surface! What a powerful word, “Why” is in learning to listen! As a literalist, that is a tool I need to add to my communication box! And, thank you, Lisa! I am so blessed by the post high-light! Shalom, my friend!

  7. Lois Flowers

    Lisa, these questions are so helpful as I look for ways to listen to my college girl more deeply. I especially love, “Why do you ask?” It reduces the chance for wrong assumptions (mine) and reveals the heart behind the question (hers).

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