Have you ever noticed how it feels to have someone listen to you? I mean really listen. It doesn’t really happen all that often, especially in this crazy busy world of distractions. But when someone gives you their full attention, and just listens, that’s a precious moment.
When someone is genuinely interested in you and what you have to say, their attention says that you matter. You have value.
I need to know that I matter, that I have value. So do you. So do we all.
It’s hard to listen really well. To listen without jumping to conclusions or to judgement. To get past the feeling that listening isn’t enough, that I need to share my own anecdote to show that I understand, that I need to provide a solution a friend’s problem, that I should have some useful advice. That I somehow need to fix things, as if they need me to rescue them, as if I’m not already broken myself.
But what if I listened to someone in order to learn? From them. About them. What if I listened – to know them?
How would that change the way I listen?
Would it free me from shouldering a responsibility that is not mine? Would it free me from waiting for ‘my turn’? Would it free me from trying to impress with my own insight or humour? Would it free me to really pay attention and seek to understand a person. Would it allow me to really see them for who they are? To be with them? To love them and care about them?
I think it just might.
This is Day 23 of the series 31 Days to Listen. Visit Write 31 Days to see how other writers are contributing to this challenge.
Deep shade is not enough to dull the brilliant colours of the flowering rhododendrons. Rhododendron Valley in Mount Lofty Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to spend a sunny spring afternoon.
Did you notice the bench in the photograph? All along the paths that traverse the slopes of the valley there are benches where you can stop to rest for a while and take in the view. It may have something to do with the fact that the garden is established on a fairly steep hillside, but to me each bench is an invitation.
An invitation to sit with the Lord, to be still in his presence, to enjoy the beauty of his creation, and to listen him. An empty bench reminds me I need space for a relationship with God, and that he is always waiting for me, ready to be with me.
This is a soul space for me. A place where I can rest and wait on the Lord. Many times I’ve met God on a bench in this garden, and so I keep returning, grateful for his invitation.
Do you have a favourite place to be with God, or something else that you reminds of his invitation for you to come and be with him, to listen?
This is Day 17 of the series 31 to Listen.
Learn how to listen.
Make time to listen.
Be intentional about listening.
Give honour and respect, don’t bring your own agenda.
This is not just about getting instructions for the next thing to do.
This is about relationship, knowing, intimacy.
This is about heart-sharing.
This is about transformation.
That was over two years ago. I was asking the Lord how to foster a more intimate relationship with him. Slowly, I’ve been learning; inclining my ear towards him.
And still He whispers, “Listen.”
The truth is that while there have been wonderful moments of listening and receiving, I’ve also been dodging and weaving, ducking and diving.
I want to share my heart with you, but you need to listen.
The truth is that I haven’t trusted his heart for me. I’ve too often tightened my grip on my own agenda. And I’ve been afraid of what I might hear.
The truth is that his love is unfailing.
His faithfulness is unwavering.
His grace and mercy are unmatched.
His gentleness is unsurpassed.
And I am his beloved.
An intimate relationship is only possible if I will listen. This is the path set before me. The invitation.
As we enter into a new year, this is the path I choose. To listen to his word, his voice, his heart, his creation.
I want to find out what happens when my first priority is to listen.
What is God whispering to you?
Image sourced here.