Lingering Questions

By Sibyl Towner

by Sibyl Towner, Co-Author of Listen to My Life

We all love to answer questions when we can shoot up our hands, or push a button to say that we have the right, quick answer.  But what about those questions that don’t have ready answers and seem to drift into our minds when we open up a bit of space for them?

The important questions of life that we don’t have an immediate answer for can send us on a quest that can lead to better, deeper or more honest questions. These questions can help us name what is beneath the surface of the activity of daily life, but without a bit of reflection might be overlooked. We might be making choices, stuck in moods or behaving in ways that are driven by this question even if we are not consciously aware of its content.

We call these kinds of questions ‘lingering questions.’  Just below the surface of this type of question are bigger questions like: Who am I? Is God leading my life, and if so, where? Does God love me? What is important in my life? or How do I make sense of my current reality?

These questions sometimes prompted by the Holy Spirit invite us to pay closer attention to the lives we are living, and they might help us realign to the life that God has designed for us.

Recently, my friend, Deborah, was working with her life story and noticed that all the high points in her life related to cross cultural experiences, and that her current life was in a low place. When she saw this pattern on the ‘My Life Story’ visual map in the Listen to My Life workbook, a question came forth, “How can I connect where I am with what I love?” That question was given room to be explored in the company of others. While friends listened, space was opened up for her to consider how this question might lead her toward living ‘life to the full’ that Jesus talks about in John 10:10.   She recognized and responded to what she sensed as God’s movement in her life within her current circumstances and an opportunity to re-engage in cross cultural activity opened up.

Deborah is experiencing being in the flow of the spirit in her current life reality in a fresh way, because she paid attention to a question that was prompted by her past and current life story.  Since then, she has translated a portion of the Listen to My Life materials into Spanish and Mayan (yes, Mayan), and she is leading a mission trip to Guatemala to share the process with women who have endured many years of civil war – and I get to go along!


  • What is your lingering question or questions?
  • How might you give these lingering questions space to emerge?
  • Who might listen to you talk through your questions and the quest for understanding in a way that will invite God into the process of your discovery?


Jesus said, ‘I came to give you life and have it to the full!’  John 10:10


Father God, please open my heart to hear the questions that you might prompt in my spirit.  I want to recognize and respond to your movement in my life and live my ‘life to the full,’ as you intend.  Amen.

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