To be: more curious, less furious

To be: more curious, less furious

Do we have the courage to be curious, with Jesus?

I wonder if you have a “to do” list? I often have things I want to tick off each day and get a sense of satisfaction from this. Recently, I’ve been praying and reflecting on a “to be” list. What would I like to encourage within myself and my interactions with others?

by Alastair Bateman, CEO

One thing I aspire to is “to be curious”. To adopt a mindset of enquiry rather than judgmental opinion. I see this as a behaviour I adopt when I’m at my best – but when feeling pressured, it’s amazing how easy it is to produce a snap judgment rather than asking deeper questions.

It’s not just curiosity with others; I also aim to be more curious about my reactions. To hit the “pause button” when I notice my emotions and to ask Jesus what might be happening. Sometimes I might just be tired. But other times, especially if a pattern emerges, pausing and asking questions can be a window into something deeper, where I might need healing from the Holy Spirit.

It strikes me that we live in a world that encourages quick, emotional reactions – technology and media industries know how to press our buttons in ways that lead to division, rather than expanding our understanding. And with increasingly polarised views in the world, we in mission need to be ever more intentional at seeking first to understand before wanting to be understood ourselves.

My predecessor 50 years ago, John V Taylor, recognised this when he wrote that at the heart of mission is a need to “come as a stranger with everything to learn again”. How often we prefer to be “knowers” rather than “learners”! But we need to be connected, humble and curious.

Living in anxious times can block our pursuit of curiosity – neuroscience tells us you cannot be anxious and curious simultaneously. Amid constant change, we crave definitive answers. But what if we can’t immediately know the answers and need to trust God in that discomfort?

I recently saw someone on Twitter say: “That kind of calm and non-anxious presence that absorbs dissonance while remaining self-regulated is increasingly scarce and attractive. This is one of the key things Christians need to be known for moving forward: quiet, calm curiosity.”*

I’m reminded that in the Gospels, Jesus asks dozens of questions. Do we have the courage to be curious, with Jesus?

So why not practise hitting the pause button with me? Attempt to replace judgment with curiosity. My colleague Naomi is fond of saying, “more curious, less furious”. Ask if this is something Jesus wants you to be.

Get our email newsletter: