The ability to simply sit and listen is something worth cultivating in our lives. How many arguments, family breakups, misunderstandings and lack of wisdom and learning have eventuated because people weren’t listening to one another?
As parents we are consistently trying to reinforce to our children the importance of listening. To not interrupt others speaking, or only be intent on having “their say” or expressing personal opinions at the cost of listening to what is being communicated to them.
Being a good listener is so important in every area of our lives; in our relationships, educational pursuits, our spiritual life and in our workplaces. But sadly in our fast paced, often-short attention spanned world we can neglect to cultivate this character in our lives to our own detriment.
Not listening, or feeling like we are not being listened to, leads to many of the communication breakdowns experienced by people the world over.
But how often does a lack of listening stem from selfishness, and people putting their needs, agenda’s and opinions before others? Is it because we can all get so caught up in our own little space and schedule that we forget to stop and be in the moment, in the conversation? That we don’t pause, look, listen and seek to understand what people are trying desperately to communicate to us.
Is it that we often fail to listen not only with our ears, but also with our eyes? We miss seeing communication through face expressions and body language. And more importantly we fail in the simple act of listening with our hearts.
Listening is so easily overlooked in our daily lives. We get used to the constant noise of our technology, the world outside our home or workplace, and quite often we simply switch off. We stop listening, looking and sometimes even caring.
However, God is the ultimate listener, and we can learn from Him. He knows what we are about to say before we even say it, and yet He still invites us to talk and communicate with Him. (Psalm 139:4) He listens to our hearts, and wants us to share what is on our minds; all our concerns, our joys, our dreams. Plus He wants us to listen to Him.
When we take the time to learn from Him, and to cultivate quietness in our hearts and minds, we will not only hear and start to be able to share things with God, we will also learn to communicate and really listen to those around us. We discover how to listen not only with our ears, and eyes, but also with our hearts.
Today if you are struggling to be heard by others, or you know you haven’t been a good listener; take a few moments to tell God. Then stop, and listen with your heart. Wait and listen, not to the sounds of the outer world, but to the silence that is within you. That silence is where God speaks in the quiet, and the stillness. It is where He loves on us, and shares His secrets. Take the time to listen and you will not only discover more of God, but also about yourself and those around you. Take the time and you will learn to be a listener!
“Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do]; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And you are intimately acquainted with all my ways.Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken], Behold, O Lord, You know it all.” (Psalm 139:1-4 NIV)
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19 NIV)
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV)
Prayer: Lord please help me to have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart that seeks to listen and understand both you and those around me. In Jesus Name. Amen.