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What I'm Learning About Listening

Part of being a good friend, or a safe person, is being a good listener. So as part of my desire to be a good friend and a compassionate person, I am working on being a good listener.

Listening is so much more involved than just standing in someone's vicinity while they speak. It starts way before the conversation. It starts in my heart.

Because listening, really listening requires selflessness. It requires me setting myself and my own thoughts aside and really hearing what the speaker is trying to say without my own judgements and suppositions. It is impossible to really listen and hear what someone is saying if I am inserting my own assumptions and judgements into what they are saying. Instead of hearing what they're saying I'm hearing what I think they are saying. And that's not really hearing them at all.

So here's what I'm learning about listening...

1.) Really listen. Look the speaker in the eye. It really is important. It lets them know that my focus is on them. And it reminds me where my focus should be.

2.) Really listen. Don't think about other things.

3.) Really listen. Care about the speaker more than myself. Care more about them than my own opinions and what I think about what they're saying. Reserve all judgments and analyzations for later. Listen to understand what they're saying, not to judge it.

4.) Really listen. Listen to what they're saying instead of forming my own response. I can't form an appropriate and wise response before I've really listened to what they're saying.

5.) Really listen. Respond to the mood of what they're saying with your body language. If what they're saying is happy and exciting, show a happy and exciting response with your body. If what they're saying is painful and sad, respond in that way. Basically, rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (huh! Where have I heard that before??)

:) Did you notice a pattern? It really all just comes down to really listening. Not pretending to listen. Not making a grocery list or thinking of all the reasons the speaker is a kook and trying to form my exhortation about why what they're saying is wrong. What they're saying may be wrong...and it may need to be corrected but interrupting them to do it sends the message that I think that what they are saying is so stupid that I can't bear to listen to it a second longer, and that what I have to say is more important than what they are saying. And guess what?! Nobody deserves to be made to feel that way! I certainly say a lot of stupid things that God shouldn't have to listen to, but He does anyway.  And that amazing grace should spill out of my life and onto every person I come into contact with. Even the ones who say things I don't like.

God is good, and with Him all things are possible! Praise God for His mercy and grace!

Have you ever been misunderstood or interrupted? How did it make you feel? Have you ever misunderstood someone because you didn't listen well? Have you ever been so anxious to interject your own idea that you interrupted someone who was talking? How did they respond and how do you think they might have felt?

Proverbs 1:5
Proverbs 12:18
James 1:19
Romans 12:15

God made you wonderful! So go live out your potential!

"Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it!"

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