Listening

15 04 2011

Listening is a tender art. When we listen, we give ourselves into the hands of another. We allow them space in our hearts to pour out their thoughts, share their perceptions, and voice their ideas. We stop, quieting our own hearts in order to create room for another to inhabit these moments of our time.

In stopping, we set ourselves down. The best listening is done with more than our ears. It is done with our eyes, hearts, and hands. In listening, we learn to see through another’s eyes. We catch a glimpse of where another walks and the circumstances, pressures, and perspectives that shape them. Listening is also done with our hearts. It is a gift that gives honor and value to another. True listening moves our hands. It might move them to give a hug, write a card, hold a hand, wipe a tear, or fold in prayer.

Too many times I hear, but I don’t listen. Sometimes, I only sacrifice part of my attention. In other moments, I focus on my pride. I want to be right, look good, or sound impressive. Other times find me being defensive. The dialogue in my head takes center stage, leaving the other person talking with no one to engage.

One of the most touching things about Jesus is that He always listened. Really listened. Listened to the heart behind the questions. Stopped to see the fear behind the tears. Saw the ache of loneliness in a cry for help. Observed pride when it masqueraded as piety. In listening, He gave Himself. And in giving them Himself, He gave them the opportunity to see God and be changed.

My Jesus Resolution today is to listen…really listen. I am going to set down the multi-tasking that is really an excuse for not giving someone my full attention. I am going to listen with my ears, eyes, heart, and hands. Listening requires a slowness that is not in sync with the pace of this world. It does, however, match the rhythm of God’s heart.


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One response

2 05 2011
BARB

JUST NOTICED THAT THE SAME LETTERS THAT MAKE UP THE WORD “LISTEN”, ALSO MAKE THE WORD “SILENT”. JUST A THOUGHT.

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