Saturday, July 11, 2009

Asking the Hard Whats

My dishwasher broke today. Granted, it’s ten years old, but still. I didn’t relish washing and drying a full load first thing this morning. It put a cramp in the start of my entire day. It will put a bigger cramp in my check book.

But in the past few weeks, I’ve learned something I should have learned two years ago. I’m a slow learner and I think God knows that.

I don’t ask, “Why, God?” anymore.

Instead, I try to ask, “What God?” What do you want me to learn from this situation? What can I take away from it? What do you want me to do?

Asking why does nothing except cause me to keep spinning my wheels. The answer to why isn’t important because it won’t change a thing.

Two years ago, my husband lost his job. We packed our Jeep to the rooftop and drove to Charleston to work. All the way up I kept asking, “Why? Why us? Why did this have to happen now? Why did you take me from my home?”

The funny thing is—I still don’t have the answer. And I might never .

A couple of months ago I got an e-mail asking me to speak at a writer’s conference. I turned it down out of fear. I wondered why God would ask met o do it when I wasn’t even prepared yet.

I should have asked, “What do I need to do Lord to do this?”

Are you asking too many whys today? Why did my latest submission get rejected? Why didn’t the agent answer my last email? Why this? Why that?

Maybe instead, ask the hard What questions. What does God want you to do about that last rejection? Should you submit it someplace else? Should you have someone look it over?

What are you doing with your whys today?


Lin said...

you are talking about getting out of our rutts. that's been on my mind all morning and I'll blog about it on Monday...thanks for a little push in the right direction.

Ginger said...

Great post. I think we all get caught up in the "whys" from time to time. Your last thought is great. Ask what. I need to do that more often and just give it all to God and wait on Him.

Take care and good luck with the dish washing!

sarah said...

whoa! Your honesty is what I need. I've asked too many whys and didn't do things cause of fear. I commit to praying the whats. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, for being real. Sarah

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Profound thinking, Terri. Moving our "whys" to "whats". What now, God?

I think this a better approach to our everyday.

This really strikes me this morning.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Good Saturday (or any day) food for thought, my friend.

Andrea said...

Amen, sweet sister!!

God has greater things for you. He is teaching you all these things in order to use you far beyond your comprehension. Hang in there!!
Blessings and prayers, andrea

Lin said...

ps you should be teaching at writer's conference. no more fear, just do it next time you are asked. and ask how not why me!

ginny said...

Super post! I used to ask WHY all the time. When I finally asked what am I supposed to learn from this, it seems like I got answers quicker, or else "something" inside me knew why and what I was supposed to do about it.
It is a hard concept to grasp however, and one that most of us don't want to explore.

Billy Coffey said...

I'm pretty sure you didn't write this post with me in mind, Tiffany, but it sure did seem that way when I read it.

Christina Berry said...

Great post--I can choose to either ask WHY am I divorced? WHY did a different life-changing tragedy hit my family three weeks ago? Or I can ask what God will have me learn. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

I'm finally getting around to visiting all the blogs of those who left comments on my interview on Susan's blog about my upcoming release, The Familiar Stranger. Would love for you and any of your blog followers to come over to and subscribe to the infrequent, humorous newsletter. You might win a free copy of the book!

Trudy said...

I love this post Terri! You are so right, we should be asking 'What' instead of 'Why'! I've been in a total why me mode lately...I'm going to start asking what instead!

Thank you for this post!

Stonefox said...

I wouldn't know what to do WITH a dishwasher, HA! My times of washing dishes has been very blessed- I spend that time being mentored by others via the internet. I am learning, like you, that there is a "what" behind circumstances God sends or allows. The "what" is a blessing, we just have to look for it.

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

After we move from the "What God, What just happened" shock, then we can move on to the other "what". I'm usually stuck on the first what too long.

Jessica said...

Awesome post Terri! I love how you put it and will endeavor to start asking Him 'what' more often. Really good.

Karen Wilber said...

Of course this puts me in mind of my kids who ask me Why? and What? but don't really bother to listen to the answer. I never do that to I God? ;-D

Thanks, Terri.

Pat's Place said...

Excellent thinking! I am going to work on changing my WHYS to WHATS when talking to God about my important concerns! Thanks!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I like your "what" question, Terri. What next, Lord? I'm coming into a new chapter after another cliff-hanger ending.

Susan :)

Andrea said...

Just installed Mozilla Foxfire. I will let you know how it goes. Explorer was driving me crazy. Please pray this works.

Sande said...

Say what? Why?

Actually, these words have huge millage at our place .....

... oh and one other word too, 'where'. When coming from my husband I just tell him it's with his keys.

Nancy said...

These are good questions. It is true that the correct question would be, "what now?" It is still difficult for me not to think "why?" even if I don't ask it.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

This is awesome, Terri!!

I'm changing my "why this?" to "what should I learn from this?" now. I'll need lots of reminders to cement this change in though.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Such wisdom in this post. We may never know the "why's" in this lifetime.

Come pick up an award for you on my blog today!
~ Wendy

Greg C said...

Great post Terri. I have started asking "what" over the past year and He answers me. I am so much happier now. They whys are over my head.

Gina C said...

Great way to look at it and change perspective!

MeganRebekah said...

I love the idea of flipping the why into a what. Such a great application for all situations in life!

AnooCre8ion said...

Great post Terri. When I came to that place I found a new level in Christ.



Hi! I'm Grace said...

Wondeful post, Terri.
Yes, throughout the ups and down, God taught me to learn something from every "unpleasant" things that happened to me around. I believe that if we don't learn from some "unpleasant" thing that happened to us, we will have to go through it all over again. And it is painful.
God bless you, Terri.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

A wonderfully wise woman, my spiritual mother I like to call her once told me to and I quote "Don't waste you suffering!" at the time I thought she had simply lost her mind.

Fast forward...Her statement really spoke to me and it has been one of my main focuses over the last several years, like a revelation.

Looking for the lessons in the trials, looking for the what instead of the why!

Great post my friend!!!


PS: until the dishwasher gets fixed I have two words for you...paper plates!

Pat said...

I think you should write back to that organization and tell them you are availble...then ask God to work the impossible inside you. Wasn't this part of your dream? To be an inspirational speaker to women? You have to start somewhere ya know, and this seems like a good first baby-step in that direction.
So now I'm giving you a shove in the b _ _ _.
Write that letter with trembling fingers and hover over that send button...then click. ; )

Love and hugs and glad it's not me,