Tonight in lectures I heard something that stopped me in my tracks. My cohort had held a meeting the half-hour prior to our module starting and that entire time I was distracted trying to get a phone case off.
Then, when the guest lecturer arrived (and my friend had successfully pried the plastic off my phone) I was able to focus a bit more.
To introduce the class to our session’s topic the course leader said,
“The essence of all good writing is mastering the art of hearing other people’s voices.”
Now, change the word “writing” for “living” and we’ve got ourselves a foundation to build relationships on. Hearing other people.
In my Senior Seminar at North Greenville, my professor once talked about a book he had read called Listening is an Act of Love. I’ve never read the book myself so I’m not going to recommend it, but I am going to encourage you to live by the principle of the title.
Listening as an act of love.
Mastering the art of hearing others.
James 1:19 tells us to be quick to hear.
Growing up I always heard there was a reason why God gave us two ears and one mouth. Sounds somewhat juvenile but the truth is still there.
And even now as I write God is pressing on my spirit that this truth doesn’t just apply to human relationships.
I don’t know about you but there are many times when I treat prayer as a one-way street. I come to God with good things-His praise, prayer requests, my life. And I can get so caught up in speaking to God that I forget prayer is a conversation that also requires listening.
He gives us His Word, and God definitely speaks to us through the power of Scripture. But He can also speak to us in the places of quiet, when we have stilled our hearts and silenced our tongues. When we come ready to listen and to hear, when we come expecting to encounter God in a communal facet.
He wants to speak to us, but even when we have good intentions, our thoughts tend to drown His voice out. Last week and the week before God really told me to “Be still and listen.”
To hush. To just be.
I’m the kind of person who can be quiet in a interpersonal conversation without a problem. I absolutely love listening to people share their stories and to hear about their lives. I genuinely do.
But when it comes to prayer, I tend to dominate the conversation. God doesn’t force Himself on us, so if we want to hear from Him we need to silence our souls and open our hearts to His voice.
I love the Scripture in John 10 when Jesus says that the sheep of a flock know the voice of their Shepherd. They won’t follow the voice of a stranger because they don’t know his voice. They wait on the voice of their Guide, their Master.
Today I pray that we have that same attitude. That we silence our ears to the deafening deceit of the enemy and the falsehoods of the flesh, and we tune our hearts to hear from the Good Shepherd. He loves us and wants to guide us in this life, but we have to do our part and be quick to listen.