Learning To Listen

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you realize that you have checked out? You see their mouth moving, but you aren’t engaged. Situation like this make me think.

  • Why is it so difficult to stay in the present?
  • How can I remain engaged when in a conversation?
  • How can I become a better listener?

We live in a technological age where people really do just one thing at a time. I just realized the other day that it is possible for a person to be talking on the phone and texting someone else. That just seems crazy to me. No wonder I have two sometimes repeat things and phone conversations. The world moves fast, and we are tempted to hold on while riding at breakneck speed no matter what the cost.

People need to start reconnecting. We live in an age where people are meeting together less and less. Isolation, depression, and loneliness abound. People long for a human connection, but we are really finding poor substitutes for online communities. We need to make a concrete effort to make connection when you given any opportunity.

Have you noticed but when you’re at a register at the store the cashier doesn’t seem to make eye contact? I always ask the cashier how their day is going looking them straight in the eyes for a few moments. Sometimes all it takes is a simple question, “So has it been busy today?” People are dying to talk to someone. The problem is that no one is really listening.

Sometimes it’s easy to go about our day thinking they are insignificant, that each encounter we have with someone is simply a chance encounter. But somesometimes it’s easy to go about our days thinking they are insignificant, that each encounter we have with someone is simply a chance encounter. But Psalm 139:2-3 says, “You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You just turn my going out and my laying down, you are familiar with my ways.”

The God of the universe is aware what you do day in and day existence. We make our plans, but God knows how it will turn out. We sometimes forget that we make plans. We get a false sense that we are in control, and then we try to retain that control when in reality God is in control.

When we keep our mind on the people we meet every day. God places opportunity to engage with others and we must learn to recognize them. Listening matters because the person in front of us is someone God loves, someone God values. And we could ask God for his eyes to see people the way He sees them. I have a nasty habit when I’m busy going through my daily duties to be on automatic pilot and not notice anything that is going on around me. But I know I must focus on the people around me, if I’m going to make a difference. If I focus on the person in front of me then I will see how God values them.

Those who know God personally are filled with the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:25 says, “ since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. God can lead our conversation, when we remember that God is with us every step of the way. If we don’t know what to say God will tell us what to say, and when to keep silent. Being in step with the Holy Spirit means we are open to His leading, therefore we are not in the driver’s seat. When we are controlling things, we are calling the shots and are tempted to make each conversation about us and our experiences. Even if the other person cares, we get our next point ready, formulating our thoughts so they come our right.

When we are in step with the Holy Spirit, we patiently wait for the other person to communicate. we are in tune with the Holy Spirit when we realize we are not the reason our listener is being blessed, refreshed, or encouraged. God is the source, and sometimes we get the privilege of being used in the process.

James1:19, states “ my dear brothers and sisters take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” We should apply this verse and learn to be better listeners. Everyone has a basic need to be heard. God provides opportunity to practice listening every day. Seeing the opportunity as from God helps us have a better perspective.

How different our interactions would be if we were quick to listen instead of quick to speak. I grew up where I always fought to be heard. Being told I could speak definitively took a toll on me. Sometimes I can be really quiet and other times I speak loudly so people won’t ignore me.

You often in conversation, we respond prematurely, frustrating our conversation partners because their message was not heard and our message was not heard. And we walk away really frustrated.

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