What kind of friend do you want to be? What kind of family member? Colleague?
Well, I want to be kind, compassionate, supportive, available, and wise. But I also want to be a really, really good listener. I want to listen to comprehend and learn about what someone is saying to me.
James, the brother of Jesus, admonishes his readers to be "quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger" (James, 1:19). The word for "hear" means not only literally to listen, but also to learn.
Sometimes I find myself listening to my friend, yes, but not really learning and fully comprehending what she is saying. My mind is racing away for answers, thinking of what I will say next, digging for a similar story to tell her, or maybe even for a response that one-ups her so we can focus on me instead. [sigh]
My goal for today: I am going to practice the art of learning while I listen. I want to turn off the temptation to express and turn up the volume to receive information.
Now, if someone asks for your feedback, well, that is different. But hold on. Exactly how many times in the last week has someone actually asked you for your opinion? Asked you what to do or how you would handle a situation?
Just what I thought. Me, too.
Mostly folks want someone simply to listen, really, really listen. Let's commit to being very slow to speak, slow to express our thoughts and opinions, and slow to declare our minds.
Besides, isn't it "slow and steady wins the race"? With repeated effort, we can make a habit of this, and everybody wins.
We got this!
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