I wanna try an experiment.
Have any of you read Wild at Heart or Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge? In these books, the author(s) attempt to unpack the inner workings of men and women, respectively. They assert that all human beings are driven by a central question, one that is embedded in our souls from the moment we are born. Who we are, the self we project to others, how we view ourselves, the way we relate to the world…all of it is influenced by where and how we get that central question answered.
Now you’re wondering what the question is. What’s the meaning of life? (Answer: 42.) What is my purpose? (Answer: see Rick Warren.) How do I make the perfect scrambled egg? (Answer: constant stirring with added butter, salt, and chives.) All good questions, but no…none of those are the right ones.
For men, the Eldredges say the question is Do I have what it takes? For women, it’s Am I lovely? Of course while these sentences seem to be fairly surface-level, they have a lot of layers. There are, after all, two whole books. It’s difficult to flesh them out in just a paragraph or two, but essentially the idea is that men largely reflect the warrior side of God and look for validation that they are able to live up to that conquering, protecting, problem-solving image. Women, on the other hand, were made to reflect the nurturing, beautiful side of God and therefore we yearn to be really seen, wanted, and needed for a greater purpose. Of course, the books explain it much better than I can in just a few sentences.
My experiment idea is this: I challenge you to consider these driving questions when interacting with people in your life. Most of us enjoy making someone smile; not only does the other person feel good, we do too! So for the next seven days, I want you not only to be on the lookout for someone to build up, but when you seize an opportunity to encourage, try to do it in a way that answers that person’s question. Then keep track of the responses you see and share them in the comments. I’m curious to know whether addressing the core drivers that the Eldredges write about will make the positive things we speak into the lives of others carry even more impact.
Let the building begin!