Devotional, faith, prayer

listening

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” –John 10:27

sheep_grazing2_may__09There’s a section in my prayer journal where I pray about areas of growth the Lord brings to mind.  Listening is the topic I’m paying attention to just now.

It’s a challenging task to one whose childhood nickname was “Chatty Cathy”. 🙂

Chatty-Cathy

So my first step in learning to listen?  Simply talking less.

autumn_road Talking less is a necessary first step, but it doesn’t automatically lead to good listening.

There’s another step. Training my mind to focus.

So. much. harder. Distractions can be so charming and, well, distracting!

However, without focus, we’re left with a blur.

flower_blur We don’t see or hear clearly. We don’t remember, and we miss so much.

bee_cosmosAnd I just don’t want that to happen. Listening well requires focus.

And it becomes a gift ~  to myself and to others. And I do want that.

Tell me your thoughts in the comments ~ I’m listening.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” -James 1:19

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20 thoughts on “listening

  1. The song that is singing in my head right now as I read your post and all the wonderful comments is “Be Still and Know That I Am God”. Thank you for this reminder – too often I am a babbler and not a listener – a lesson I need to learn each and every day! Have a wonderful weekend Kathie!

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  2. As I read this and the comments I found the song “Be Still and Know That I Am God” going through my head. Listening instead of blabbing is a lesson I am learning each and every day. Thank you for this reminder and to all the commentors – so inspiring!

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  3. Such wisdom…and so well illustrated. I agree totally…that talking less doesn’t necessarily mean one is listening. Been there! I love the Henry Nouwen quote that Amy left for us.

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  4. Ah, focus. You’ve hit the hard part for me, too. Your post is very timely, Kathie. I’ve just finished Dallas Willard’s Hearing God and tentatively planning to meet with a few other women to talk about the book as we re-read it together.

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    • That was the first DW book I ever read. I’ve re-read it a number of times since then. Along with a number of his other books. He’s my favourite non-fiction writer. I was really quite sad when he died this spring. I studied The Divine Conspiracy with 2 blogging friends last winter – it was so helpful to read it together and discuss it. I think you’ll really enjoy that Anne!

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  5. Lovely post! I also want to listen better. When I read that we need to pretend we’re on a journey we’ve never been on before, when someone is talking, it really helped me to be engaged rather than to anticipate what they will say. This tip makes me “focus” better. (I love your bee picture!)

    Blessings ~ Wendy

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  6. Bev K says:

    I find this such a difficult part of growth. Like the others said – my mind chatters away when I try to listen. And then, how to recognize God’s voice and distinguish it from my own striving to do the right thing? I often find myself taking my husband’s advice, ” If you can’t “hear” God’s voice, choose what you think is a good direction and start walking. If God wants you to move in another direction, He’ll put a roadblock in your path.”

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  7. Amy says:

    Something I read not so long ago and it really resonated…Perhaps ~it will resonate with you too:) God Bless, Amy

    “To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

    Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.” Henry Nouwen

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  8. Such a good verse to remember. May God bring it to my remembrance when I need to be listening. Sometimes I find myself planning what I will say when the person is done talking and I miss what they say. I hate that.

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  9. A friend pointed out the best most important communications happen just before a party ends and at the final farewells. Listening during prayer time…my brain chatters away and it isn’t until I take notes on the chatter that my mind finally quiets enough to hear God speak.
    The “be still” part of listening is worth getting to with family, friends and God.
    Super photo with the bee!

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    • A good point Jill. I’ve seen it at death beds but never noticed it at parties. I know what you mean about prayer time – it’s challenging to get quiet inside. I write out the “things to do” that pop into my head. That way I can put them aside until I’m done praying. It helps.

      I did a lot of clicking to get that bee photo! They don’t know a whole lot about being still 🙂

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