Learning to Listen
I’m learning to listen. Period. Just listen; without retort or excuse or submitting additional information.
I have a friend who is taking a counseling course, and the first two lessons and practicums were just on listening. She said it was really hard to learn how to listen without contributing anything – no paraphrasing, no voicing personal emotions, no advising… Just listening.
Learning to listen well is a critical skill when working with people, but until recently I hadn’t assessed how well I was listening to God. The results were eye-opening. Of course I’ve been listening to God; listening is a vital part of prayer. However, I realized that I am guilty of selective listening (you know, the thing that drives us bonkers about our spouses, kids, or co-workers). I could listen – just listen – to God for direction, choices, discernment, and understanding others, but when it came to listening to Him when He started talking about me I couldn’t shut up. I have gotten into a terrible habit of correcting God (as if there was something I knew that the omniscient Creator lover of my soul did not). God has been trying to sing over me (as in covering me with His love and blessing), but I’ve been making it hard for Him to sing over me (as in being louder than the excuses I’ve been shouting back at Him).
On my journey to discovering God’s design of me I’ve discovered a very self-critical spirit in me. I’ve already been awakened to the truth of accepting grace for myself, and now I’m becoming aware of how important it is to just listen when God wants to teach me about myself.
I’m not sure why, but it’s easier for me to accept the condemning insights – when God reveals motivation rooted in pride or bitterness rooted in jealousy. I’m quick to listen, be convicted, and repent. I almost wrote, “convicting insights” above, but conviction isn’t limited to sin. Conviction is being absolutely convinced of a truth. Why is it so hard for me to be convicted of the blessings and gifts God has given me?
You see, while I’m eager to listen and accept a revelation of my failures (because I’m human and I expect to fail), I find it incredibly hard to believe God when He wants to reveal the wonderful ways He designed me or the marvelous plans He has for me; and thus I find it incredibly hard to listen – just listen – without insisting and pushing back with my excuses why what He has just lovingly told me could never be.
Here is my challenge: It is true that I’m human and can expect to fail, but I have to accept that it is also equally true that I am a child of God, a new creation, and the detailed workmanship of His hands. I am not just a lump of clay that fell off the wheel and now He’s doing the best He can with me. If I’m going to accept all that God is, I have to accept all that He made me to be. If I’m going to accept all that He made me to be, then I’m going to have to learn how to start listening – just listening. And may God give me ears to hear!
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
- Posted by hellobabs
- On April 12, 2017
- 0 Comment