“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34
Good question Mary! Yeah, angel, please tell us how will this be?
Mary needed more information. After all, she was being asked to believe and participate in something that was beyond human experience. I don’t think she was being belligerent. She was simply seeking to understand. She asked a clarifying question.
Clarifying questions are questions that seek more information and “ensure that the listener’s understanding of what the speaker has said is correct, reducing misunderstanding. They reassure the speaker that the listener is genuinely interested in them and is attempting to understand what they are saying.“ Clarifying questions are non-judgmental and keep the speaker talking while helping the listener understand.Some examples of clarifying questions are:
I’m not quite sure I understand what you are saying.
I don’t feel clear about the main issue here.
When you said …….. what did you mean?
I am learning to be a better listener. In my journey, I am asking more clarifying questions and less curiosity questions. Curiosity questions are about me, not the speaker. They are details I want to hear. They usually send the speaker off on tangents that might not be what they really want to talk about. Instead, I want to hear what the speaker needs to share and not just fish for what I want to hear. Like Mary, I am also trying to apply this principle in my listening to the Lord. I want to understand what he is saying to me, to make our conversations about him and not me and to allow him to tell me what he wants to say, not just get him to say what I want to hear.
What kind of questions do you ask?
When you listen to a friend, do you seek only the information you want to hear or do you allow them to share as they desire?
What do your conversations with God look like? Are you a good listener?
Father God, teach me to listen to you, to make our conversations about you, to hear what you are trying to say to me. Teach me the art of good question asking so that I can be a better friend and listener to my loved ones.
Next: Reassurance and Sign
For an edited (and better written) version of this, please purchase Favored Blessed Pierced: A Fresh Look at Mary of Nazareth, available on Amazon.