Friday, July 3, 2009

quick to listen

seems like a simple thing, but i really appreciate someone who knows how to listen. i probably appreciate it so much because it has been a struggle for me to grow in this area in my own life. i remember a moment in my teenage years when my dad told me, "you are not a very good listener. if you want good relationships, you need to learn to not talk so much and how to listen more." when he told me this it actually really offended me and hurt my pride. i had considered myself a good friend and basically he was saying that i wasn't one. but... as i have had 15 years or so to reflect on this moment that is etched into my brain, i realize that his statement was really powerful.

everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. james 1:19

this quick to listen thing is something the Lord has really be speaking to my heart. it is interesting because it really isn't a strength of my personality to be a very good listener. i am friendly, outgoing, welcoming, talkative... but definitely not great at being quiet. (and i even try!) i don't think that the james would encourage people to not talk as much and listen more if it was just something that was a trait of some people and not of others. there has got to be something there that we need to grow in regardless of our natural strengths and weaknesses. so, even though it is really hard at times, and i am sure those around me would tell you that i often fail at really be present during a conversation when the other person is speaking and often drift off to thinking about what i want to say next, i am seeking the Lord to help me grow in this very area of my life.

i started thinking about this again because of a conversation i had with someone last night. it wasn't even that long, but this 5 minute conversation struck me because i felt really listened to and heard. i didn't feel any hidden agenda about why she was having the conversation, but simply that she wanted to listen. i didn't sense that the person was distracted by her thoughts or what she wanted to say. she didn't continually check her cell phone for texts, or the clock, nor did her eyes roam the room for other things going on. she was totally engaged.

how refreshing. how much could i minister to those around me the love of God if i just took a little more time and attention to really focus on what they are saying and stop my self absorded thoughts for a moment to really be present. what would this do to my relationships? i know what the 5 minutes did for me. hey, i am so impacted i am blogging about it! i think it stood out to me so much because i am not only often heard that way by other people and i know for a fact that i do not listen like that much at all.

so... that is part of my journey. to talk less. to listen more. to not be angered quickly. as i said before, silver and gold have i none, but what i have i will share even when it is simply a desire and not a mature fruit in my life. wow. what a wild ride.



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