- What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
- What’s the favorite place that you’ve ever been?
- If you could go anywhere in the world for two weeks, all expenses paid, where would you go?
- What’s your biggest strength?
- What’s your biggest weakness?
Questions. These 5 questions enable me to get a snapshot into how a person ticks.
If I am trying to get to know someone, these are my go-to questions.
I perfected these questions in the three months that I worked at Trader Joe’s in between leaving Liquid Church, and while I fundraised to work at New York City Relief.
Working the register was the perfect time to get to know someone, to build relationship.
For 3-8 minutes, depending on the size of the cart, I had people’s undivided attention.
Sure, I could just scan groceries and comment on what they purchased, but why miss the opportunity to learn about someone new. Plus, from a business perspective, it’s great to build relationship with your customers in unique ways, so that they remember their trip and it’s not just grocery shopping - it’s an personalized experience.
I use these questions to hone into the heart of a person. Starting with a simple, but also meaningful question - there’s always a story or explanation behind the most beautiful thing someone has seen - working up to the more in depth questions of strengths and weaknesses.
A person’s engagement level to my previous questions tell me whether or not to approach the last two questions. If someone is truly honest and vulnerable, knowing their biggest strength and weakness will enable you to greatly build up or tear down that person.
One of my biggest goals when it comes to knowing and loving people, is to build up and encourage them in their strengths and to cover or protect them in their weaknesses.
I have been so incredibly frustrated for the past month when it comes to expressing myself and putting down what I am learning in writing because of what my weakness is - with the ending result being that I haven’t written anything.
My biggest weakness is that I am a people pleaser. I want you to like me. My fear of doing something that someone won’t like or agree with 100% keeps me from saying, doing, or writing a lot of things. Although, the ability to be a neutral player that generally gets along with all types and sides of people is definitely a strength and not something I regret in myself, but when I don’t speak up out of fear, that’s when it has the the potential to become a weakness.
I cannot live in fear. We cannot live in fear, we weren’t created to live in fear. Fear is not ok.
This past weekend I met a man and experienced a story that literally broke me down in anguish and tears. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, I did, but knowing that it didn’t fit the perfect story box with a perfect answer, I refrained from writing it publicly... until now.
On Saturday I had the honor of meeting a man named Arturo. Arturo arrived at The Relief Bus in the South Bronx by nothing short of a miracle. Arturo’s journey to the bus started 3 days earlier in Mexico when his family and friends gave him $2500 to pay a smuggler to get him across the border and into the USA. Stay with me.
Three years ago, Arturo’s wife died of brain cancer. This left him alone with his 10 year old daughter and 6 year old son. A year ago, a hurricane hit his small city, destroying his home and forcing him to move into a school gymnasium with his kids and his mother.
No job, no home, small kids and no hope.
His mother came to him and said he had to leave to find employment in America or they would all die. He said he didn’t want to, he said that there had to be another way. He didn’t know where he would go, what he would do, he had no money, and most of all, didn’t want to leave his family.
But, against all these odds, there still was no hope for anything where he was, so he left.
Through hitchhiking and walking, 3 days later, he happened to end up in the middle of the South Bronx, at the exact time and day of the week that New York City Relief’s Relief Bus was there to provide inclusion, love, food, and direction on what to do next.
I know that there are some people reading this that are done reading because “he can’t be here” no matter the reason, it’s illegal and he should be deported immediately. I hear you, I really do.
There just has to be a better answer though. This isn’t a statistic or theory. This is a man with kids trying to do the best for them that he can possibly do - even if that means leaving them in hopes of finding work in a foreign place and sending money home so they can live.
That is heartbreaking!
The more I follow Jesus, the more this type of thing hurts my heart. People matter. All people. Not just Americans. Everyone matters. I love this country and I am so thankful that I was born here, but to say that because someone happened to be born somewhere else, then too bad, just doesn’t work for me.
I don’t have the answers, I know it’s “more complicated”, but when it comes down to it, my job is to love without borders, and that’s what my volunteers and I did.
We connected him with a few options for shelters, clothing, and food. We encouraged him and prayed for him before sending him to a place that would provide some safe next steps.
As my heart has broken over and over again the past 2 years of doing this and working with people in similar situations as Arturo, I have prayed and asked God if I should go to a foreign country to love these people there and I strongly heard “no”.
I was told to be an advocate - to work and love on their behalf here.
So, that’s what I am going to do.
My goal in all I do is to be Jesus. To be the physical representation of what Jesus would be and say and do if He were here today. Do I get that right everyday? Nope, definitely not, but I am earnestly working on it every day that I am given to do so.
Thank you for loving and encouraging me in my strengths.
Thank you just as much for covering and protecting me in my weaknesses.
Much love my friends!
*Please feel free to share this if you think it might help someone else.*