Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Am I Really Listening?

It's a classic scene in our home: I am working on preparing lunch, answering questions about Popper's lesson, and trying to drown out the background noise of the computer as Brother Bear is playing learning games. Chaos is an understatement. In walks Sister, "Mommy can you .....?" 
I don't skip a beat when I explain to her that Mommy is busy and that she's going to have to wait a minute.
2 minutes later, crying as Sister has had an accident. The bathroom door was shut and she can't open it on her own.
I was so wrapped up in everything else that I was doing that the thought of 'doing' anything else was overwhelming and therefore ignored! 

Daddy T has just come home from a long day of work. He is exhausted. He is telling me all about the highs and lows of the day. I am lost in thoughts of dinner prep, which child is into what, and asking him a question about Friday night that I miss the entire conversation.

We all are guilty of not listening. We all have moments where we are so consumed with everything that is going on in our head and in our current 'right now' schedule that we miss very important moments and words from others around us.

James 1:9 (AMP) says "Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

 I am challenged by the Amplified version of this verse. It does not merely say 'quick to listen,' it elaborates that we should be 'careful, thoughtful listeners.'  Ouch! I don't know about you, but that stings a bit! 
I recently came across this quote:

I am so worried about what I am going to say next in the conversation that I lose sight of the heart that is crying out. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times this truth has been played out in my life. 
It's no secret that I like to talk. I love to get together with friends and family and have a regular gab fest. I am also so guilty of looking back and realizing that I missed some very important moments. Moments when friends were crying out, needing me to love on them, needing me to encourage them. I was so lost in the thought of what I was going to say that I was far from a 'careful and thoughtful listener.'

My husband is the one that falls victim to this most often. He is the one that comes home to a wife that has been conversing with children all day. I am in need of adult conversation. I will flat talk his ear off and completely miss anything that he has to say! I am so caught up in filling him in on every thought and moment from the day. Very rarely do actually LISTEN to what he is saying.

I began to be more aware of the amount of time that I am talking in a conversation. I realized that I needed serious help in this area. I knew that I could never conquer this on my own. I started praying about becoming a careful listener. The more I prayed the more I saw that I even talked too much in my prayer time! How in the world was God supposed to communicate His plan for me? I was so busy voicing my pleas to Him that I wasn't taking time to just listen!!!
This has to change! I am very aware of my need in this area. Prayer time is becoming as much about listening to Him as it is about talking to Him. I am also being more aware of what others are saying to me, not in finding a way to respond to them. I'm finding sometimes, they aren't even looking for a response, just a careful and thoughtful listener!

Are you a careful and thoughtful listener or are you so wrapped up in what you are going to say next?

Father, please help us all to learn to be better listeners to each other and to You. In Jesus name, Amen.

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