Listening, truly listening, is becoming somewhat of a lost art in our fast paced, electronics-filled world. Just yesterday I was in the car with my daughter and while she was talking I found myself contemplating what I was going to accomplish next; when I heard a few key words that snapped me back into the "here and now."
"And then I was sad..." she said.
(Trying to catch up on the missed conversation without her noticing) I said, "Why did that make you sad?
"I don't really know; why do you think it made me sad?" she said.
Busted. I had NO IDEA what she had even been talking about. My response:
"Sweetheart, I am sorry; I got distracted by where we are going and I missed part of your story. Could you start over for me so I can make sure I really understand what you were trying to explain?"
"O.K., ......" and off with the story she went AGAIN; this time you can bet my "listening ears" were open.
Children can be so forgiving. But if I don't learn this myself now, eventually she will just stop talking to me-stop sharing her hurts-if she believes I don't care enough to listen the first time.
Clearly, this applies to our marriages too doesn't it?
My husband's job involves A LOT of acronyms. When he slips into some of the "technical" terms of something he is learning about or a training course he is taking or wanting to do; I have to be on the guard to stay with him; to try to understand what he is talking about and to encourage him to continue to share what he is excited about with me. If he sees me "glaze over;" he stops talking.
Adults are a bit less willing to repeat an entire story that wasn't "interesting enough" the first time around aren't we?
My heart has been prompted to work on this area of listening. To try to put into action some basic principles:
1. To make eye contact (when possible) while speaking/listening to others.
2. To allow the other person to share fully without interruption.
3. To NOT be formulating my own responses in my mind instead of listening to what they are saying.
4. To, in general, slow life down intentionally so I can be able to be more focused on what really matters/who really matters.
5. To take the initiative to draw those I love out further by asking questions about what they are sharing.
God has also been speaking to my heart about my walk with Him. True walking with God takes time. It is not something that can be "multi-tasked" into a busy schedule. Although I can be praying all throughout the day; I also need to be taking time to listen to Him.
Just as God's voice is not always spoken loudly in the fires and winds of life; often our families hearts are not going to open up in the midst of the blowing winds of our daily activities. We need to seek them out and take the time to listen for their "still small voices." We all have things that we will only share when someone is taking the time to be still with us and invite us to open up. Things that we say much quieter than we would share a funny story or something that has upset us.
"The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." I Kings 19:11-12
Grace and peace you to you~
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