Learning To Listen

9 May

“Listening is such a simple act.  It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else.  We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise.  We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.” ~ Margaret J. Wheatley

For the past few days, our gospels have been about the Good Shepherd.  Today, Jesus states, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  That is all well and good.  However, for a sheep to hear the voice of the master, it first must listen.

That is something that we are abysmally short on: listening skills.  We do not prefer to listen.

Listening, to our way of thinking, implies that someone else has something to say that might be more important than what we are thinking or saying.  We do not think that way.  We think, generally, that we are the only ones that matter.  So, when we listen, we do so only with the intention of responding, not of taking in what the other person is saying.

The true listener, on the other hand, listens with no preconceived notions.  The true listener wants to hear what the other person has to say.  The true listener wants to know how the other person feels.  The true listener wants to know everything possible about the other.  Never does the true listener want to put his or her own thoughts, words, or feelings on to another.  The true listener simply wants to listen.

God is always listening to us.  He wants to hear from us.  He wants to know our feelings.  He wants to know our needs, our hopes, our dreams, our desires.  However, our relationship with God should not be one-sided.  We should not merely speak with Him — or, should I say, at Him.  Rather, we should take the time to listen to God as well.

When was the last time that you halted everything simply to listen to God?  How long did your listening last before you began petitioning Him?  Try to do all that you can these next days to cultivating a heart that listens for God and to God.  That is the only way that a relationship with Him can be complete.

FAITH ACTION:  Make time today merely to sit and listen to God.  Try to put all other thoughts, worries, plans and such out of your mind and give God a chance to speak with you.