One of the hardest lessons that I am learning is also one of the greatest arts in this life especially when it comes to personal relationships - listening. I am going to guess that a characteristic of a great conversationalist is the ability to listen and really hear another person out. It is my desire to be a better listener and to continue to improve this skill throughout the rest of my days.
Yesterday, my daughter asked me, "Don't you want to always be growing?" and I said, "yes, to the end of my days."
Really, it is my prayer and my heart's desire to remain teachable. I believe a key element to being teachable is the ability to listen to others, to learn from them and hear what message is being communicated.
There is a second type of listening and that is listening to God. The most basic way to do that is through the Word of God - to read my bible. I believe there are other ways: through people, through nature and in the midst of our circumstances. It is my belief that God does want to reach us through these means as well. My job is to discern and to listen carefully. In John Jesus talks about being our shepherd and us being his sheep. The sheep know the voice of their Shepherd. So, I believe that Jesus can speak to me through any means and if it lines up with His Word then I can pretty much trust that the word is from Him. Sometimes I need to check it out with a brother or sister in Christ and I am not afraid to do so.
Closing my mouth is not only helpful but is essential in the pursuit of becoming an active listener. For most of my pilgrim journey this has been an ongoing lesson. Some of us need to learn to speak up and others of us need to learn to keep quiet. I am so grateful to be on this road knowing that there are bends and turns that will continue to shape my character.
Thanks for reading. CM