A Life Stirred

On listening

on January 13, 2014

I’m super excited about my word of the year.  In fact, if you spend any amount of time with me, I might just talk your ear off about it.  Yet, that seems fairly ironic since my word of the year is “listen.”  So, I’ve been thinking through what it means to listen.  And I’ve realized that this word, while simple, might just be more complex than I originally thought.

So what does listening look like? 

Listening is not just being quiet so others can talk (while I secretly plan in my head the next thing I want to say).  It’s an active, engaged thing.  It’s focusing in on who I’m listening to and putting 100% of my attention there.  So, listening is unselfish.

Hmmm.  Unselfish can be hard.

Listening requires patience.  I’ll need to allow others to process as they talk with me (instead of jumping in and telling them what I think they’re saying).  It might mean allowing some quiet in a conversation, and there’s a good chance that might feel awkward.  So, listening is patient.

Hmmm.  Patience can be hard.

I want this year to be marked by listening to God.  But that means I’m going to have to invest time into His word and prayer.  And then I’m going to have to leave more time to just be quiet and listen.  Because I can’t really listen to God if I pray real fast and then run off to do a thousand other things.  So, listening takes time.

Hmmm.  Carving out quiet time can be hard.

Listening means I need to be fully present.  I will need to put down the phone, computer, or tablet.  I will need to disconnect from media and plug into the people around me.  This might make me feel left out.  So, listening is focused.

Hmmm.  Focusing can be hard.

And yet, I know that listening will be worth it.  It will be hard.  Because I can be a selfish, impatient, busy, distracted person at times.  Through God’s grace, I will grow into this word this year.  Will I nail it?  Nope.  I will still interrupt and check facebook and be annoyed with slow processors and fill my days with activity and think about other things in my head while “listening.”  But as God works on my heart this year, it is prayer that I will learn to listen more and more.

Oh, that I might "be still" more.  This very much ties into my desire to listen.(Painting props to my husband...he painted Sherwood forest for me.  Isn't he awesome?)

Oh, that I might “be still” more. This very much ties into my desire to listen.(Painting props to my husband…he painted Sherwood forest for me. Isn’t he awesome?)

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