I posted a similar story at the beginning of the year but I had an experience today that told me I needed to look at it again!
HOW TO GET BETTER AT LISTENING TO THE LORD
I’ve made a new friend at work, Kathy. One week she brought her little Chihuahua to work because it was healing up from a wound. I went into her office to see the little dog and we started talking. Today she brought some people into my area of the shop and Kathy and I got to chat a bit.
She told me she’d been to Illinois to see her family. I asked where in Illinois and she told me. Then I got distracted because I’d been in the same town many years ago. I started to think about that experience and totally missed hearing about the people she went to see. I stopped being in her world and was thinking about my world, way back when. Darn! Some of us really have to work on our listening skills!
We let ourselves get distracted by our own thoughts, rather than listening with our full attention and our full hearts to what the other person is saying. In this instance, I went on a mental journey to my own past experiences in the town Kathy mentioned. That’s really just rude.
At other times, we get busy thinking about so many things, that our brains are racing into future events, instead of staying in the present. The result is that we miss out on quality time just listening to each other.
We’ve forgotten how to have a conversation.
We need to slow down enough to really listen to each other. Besides practicing consideration and love for each other, it’s great practice for listening to the Lord. First John 4:20 says, “For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” I could say, “For he that listens not to his brother whom he hath see, how can he listen to God whom he hath not seen?” Listening is an act of love.
If we want to get better at hearing from the Lord, we can take some steps in the right direction by practicing listening to each other. Here are a few tips that I think will help me and you too.
- Determine to engage. This works with people and the Lord too. We need to decide to give at least a few minutes of our time to them alone.
- Listen without butting in. Let them complete what they want to say and treat it as valuable.
- Ask questions: What? Why? How? Where? When?
- If you don’t understand something or you’re not sure you got it all, repeat it back to them and ask if it you got it right.
When we make the effort to listen to someone, we don’t want to let our minds take a selfish trip to the past, or an anticipatory trip to the future. We want to do our best to let our hearts and minds love and engage in the present.
I hope I get a chance to see Kathy tomorrow and do a better job of listening.
WINGS: A Journey in Faith –Volume1. True stories to ENTERTAIN, INSPIRE and ENHANCE your spiritual growth.