20 Assessment Questions to Ask When You’re at the End of Your Rope

rope02I often hear people say they are at the end of their rope. If you’re feeling that way, here are some important assessment questions to ask yourself. I encourage you to work slowly through these. Reflect on them, not only with your mind, but also your feelings and spirit. Write your responses in a journal.

  1. What is the other end of this rope tied to?
  2. Where is this rope supposed to be taking me?
  3. Is it tied to the right things, the right values?
  4. Am I sure I’m at the end of my rope or do I just feel that way?
  5. Is it possible there’s still more rope beneath me, but I’m too afraid to look down?
  6. Why do I feel I’m at the end of my rope?
  7. Am I losing my grip because I’ve been working so hard at climbing with my own power? (See my post on using all five fingers to hold on!)
  8. Who told me I’m supposed to climb this rope anyway?
  9. Is it possible this rope-climbing activity is a waste of time?
  10. Do I really feel safer holding onto this rope? Why or why not?
  11. Is there something better in life than rope-climbing?
  12. Would I want to die, still clutching this rope?
  13. What would happen if I let go of the rope I’m clinging to?
  14. Who would catch me if I let go?
  15. In my quiet moments, do I ever hear an encouraging voice saying, “Let go. Come to me you who are tired of climbing. I will catch you and hold you and give you rest”?
  16. Do I trust this one who would catch me?
  17. What would life be like if I were not holding onto this rope?
  18. Do I trust my death grip on this rope more than the one who will catch me if I let go?
  19. Who in my life will help me let go and encourage me in my catcher?
  20. What will it take to let go, to release this and throw my hands up in surrender?

What questions do you get “hung up” on? I encourage you to use #19 to talk to someone you trust–a good friend, a counselor, a clergy member, or a doctor, for instance. Talk through your responses to these questions. And don’t forget: your goal is to let go of it!

What Do You Do When Life Isn’t Making Sense?

questioning GodWhen you are walking through a dark valley or when the circumstances in your life are not making sense, it’s vital to ask the right questions. What kind of circumstances? I’m talking about living every day with a disease such as diabetes or cancer, relationship issues, or any other life difficulty.

I was reading through the psalms in the Bible one day and came across a very relevant passage. It seems the people, in the midst of difficult and seemingly unfair life situations, were dismayed and confused. “Does God realize what is going on?” they asked. “Is the Most High even aware of what is happening?” (Psalm 73:11, New Living Translation).

This is the question many people still ask. I’ve found through my experiences that this is especially true for those who follow God from arms length, people who may associate themselves with God somehow, because of their upbringing, perhaps, or maybe simply because they would not call themselves atheists. The same is often true for the Sunday-morning church-goers who have never counted the cost of being an authentic follower of Jesus.

People look at their circumstances and ask, “Where is God in all this?” But when we ask such a question, it reveals more about our own hearts than it does about God.

Let me explain what I mean. When I am walking closely with God–making my relationship with him my #1 priority, I don’t ask that question. I know God knows what’s going on, because I’ve talked to him about it, and I know he was listening. I know he is aware of what is happening because I know he knows everything. I know he cares about the situation because I know he is my loving Father; he is a compassionate shepherd who wants to give us peace and rest. I know he can change the circumstances if he chooses to, because he is all-powerful. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still have questions. I do.

And so this raises the question that I do ask. This comes from my journal during a particularly tough time during my life:

God, I don’t understand. In my human understanding, I don’t know how this is all going to work out and I can’t see how you are working in this. What are you doing? How are you going to work all this out for the good? Please, Lord, show me just a sliver of your plan and purpose.

 Regardless, Lord, help me to hang on and to continue to trust in you, to continue to trust in your timing….

The interesting thing is that the questions I ask God can actually draw me even closer to him, which, I believe, is part of God’s big-picture purpose when we walk through these dark valleys. Later in that same psalm, the writer said, “Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand” (v. 23). I love that image. Even, perhaps especially, when life circumstances are hard, God is that close. He’s holding my hand.

Are you struggling? Talk it out with God. Discuss it with a godly friend. Find a group who will support you and allow you to ask tough questions. Stretch out your hand. Let God hold it … and you. You are not alone.