In James 1:19 we are reminded to be QUICK to hear and SLOW to speak. It’s kind of a no brainer but oh. so. hard.
I was recently in a full-sized van with ten of my friends driving about 30 hours round trip. I honestly wasn’t looking forward to the travel time but once I was buckled in, I was charged up by all of my friends. That’s the best way I can describe being an extrovert. Amped up. Excited. Boom!
In situations like this, I talk a mile a minute and am probably busting out some sort of in-seat dance moves. (Yes, I worked up a sweat just dancing with my upper half.) A contributing factor could have been a result of 11 full-sized adults sitting shoulder-to-shoulder for hours on end.
Then we get home (after an amazing trip visiting an extension of the Church in West Virginia) to talk about the importance of listening as a staff. Whoa! Talk about a punch in the gut. The van ride was basically the worst case scenario for me to be a good listener. I was hyped up. I was loud. I was proud.
And that right there ladies and gentleman is the kicker. After our talk about listening, I realized how prideful I had been in the van as I chatted away and sang my heart out.
Was it fun? Yes.
But was I a good listener? No.
People kept saying how funny I was, which meant I must come up with more and more material to please the masses.
Now this was a special circumstance. In a one-on-one setting, I am a very patient listener. But the road trip revealed my true nature…I’m a word and attention hog.
Being a good listener is a practice. It’s not going to come naturally. Even to quieter, more introspective people, it is a practice. Once we quiet our mouths, we must quiet our minds. Stop thinking of the next thing to say. Stop analyzing the conversation. Stop predicting the end of the story.
J U S T L I S T E N ! ! !
Today, slow down your speaking. Speak when you feel God has told you to. (It’s what Jesus did…read John.) Listen constantly. Show the people around you that you love them by giving them your attention…fully.
And practice, practice, practice.