Lessons in Listening
Listen is my word for 2015.
I am astonished at every turn how it calls me out, at how quickly I rush in to fill silences needlessly.
I am astonished at how uncomfortable with silence I truly am, and how frequently I try to fix instead of just holding space for what is—in myself and others.
God calls me to act, but, I think, not half as often as I do act. Fools rush in, and I have so often been a fool. But the hope is in the change I choose—listening.
Listening holds so much more peace than I realized. Listening says, Yes, I’ll hold your hand, hold these emotions in my heart with you in empathy, but I won’t try to fix you. I’ll take you to the Savior in prayer, I’ll give you to Him, lower you through the roof if necessary. I don’t have the answers, but I know someone who does.
If listening had a color, I believe it would be green. Green for growing because it takes that kind of strength. Green for peace because listening allows us to be what we are in this moment without shame or scolding. Green for health and vegetables because sometimes it’s bitter even while it’s good for us. Green for verdant because it fertilizes rich relationships.
And while I hold space for others in listening, I’ll hold space for me, too. Because I practice listening to myself, too, as I would a dear friend. I listen to my body, when it’s tired, hungry, wanting to dance or walk. I listen to my heart, when it’s frayed, empty, weary. I listen to my thoughts and prayers in journaling. I listen to my spirit, when it needs worship and fellowship, forgiveness, repentance. I’ll hear my own needs and tend to them, too.
Listening abdicates power, lets the silence hang, surrenders Self to the Savior because in Him is all the power of the universe. I listen to Christ in me, the hope of glory. I listen to His word through the Daily Audio Bible.
I have not practiced listening perfectly, but I have practiced it more. And I have found that all around me are hearts needing this fine old art of listening. They don’t need my words, and truly, that’s a relief after all.
Thank You, God for these lessons in listening. May they last all year long and live on in my character, by Your grace alone—the only source of true, lasting change.