The Art of Listening Well
Most people will share their stories if they know that their audience is willing to listen. In a world that revolves around rush hour, work, sports, politics, and the latest news feed, it's hard to find the patience and willingness to actually take the time to listen to someone's story. It's even harder to find someone with the patience and willingness to hear our own story.
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who's just waiting for you to finish up talking so that they can share their opinion, try to fix whatever it is you are talking about, or just want their turn to talk? I believe most people, like myself, just want to be heard and listen to. Not for the sake of making things all better, but to know that we are heard, to know that someone cares enough to sit and listen, truly listen.
Maybe this is why people were so drawn to Jesus. Jesus wasn't concerned with time or money or rules. He cared about people, saw people as human beings, and listened, truly listened to their hearts.
(Photo Credit: Julian Hilweg from Unsplash)
We never get the impression that He was rushed, we never hear of him telling people to wait, nor did he have any selfish agenda. He was all about other people.
He taught His disciples to do this, as well. In the three years they walked with him, they learned, failed, and re-learned how to listen and be listed to, how to be loved, and be loved in return. They learned from the Master teacher and then modeled their lives after Him because they understood and believed that that was the best way to live. They knew a thing or two about what it meant to live in the Kingdom of God because they learned from God Himself.
I like to think that I'm learning to listen to what others say, but I'm constantly reminded that I'm still in process. I often find myself feeling rushed or zoned out when someone else is talking to me, more often than I care to admit.
So, how do I learn to truly listen to someone?
I think a lot of it has to do with spending time alone and quiet learning to listen to God, learning from other people, and then practicing and remembering to not be too hard on myself when I fall back into my old patterns.
In a world full of noise and not enough listeners, may we learn from our Master teacher and others who have practiced for a bit longer than us to become the kinds of people who practice the art of listening well.
Lord, help us to take some time this week in quiet and stillness to learn from you how to listen for your voice. Bring people into our lives who will teach us the art of listening well so we may be a safe place for others to come and feel listened to. Help us to have grace for ourselves as we learn the art of listening well. Amen.