“That’s not what I said.” A lot of times when I listen to someone talk, I have to realize that I don’t always hear what’s being said. And I don’t hear what’s actually being said because of my own perspectives / filters that obscure what is said. Consider that the religious leaders in Jesus’ day couldn’t hear His words because of their own filters. They were concerned about their position & power more than hearing Jesus’ truth & genuine love.
With this reality, we would be wise to consider what may be our filters. Here are some examples for your consideration:
Fear: failing & bad experiences can skew our ability to hear stuff clearly
Scarcity: lack skews our ability to hear clearly
Shame / Embarrassment: when something has terribly wrong in our lives we can easily feel shame
Jesus tells us to be careful what we hear & we would be wise to consider what filters we might have that could be muddling what we hear!
Presently, I’m sitting in Starbucks & just thinking about the importance of what we hear. Currently, the store is playing some nice music, there are some gentlemen discussing a business negotiation, some moms are enjoying a coffee & chat while the barista shouts out the latest drink order. There are alot of things for my ears to absorb. Its the same in your life – lots of noises and voices vying for your attention: your phone, kids, spouse, bills, job, deadlines, . . . . . It is our challenge to manage all these voices & remain productive & faithful to God’s purposes & designs for each of us.
Here are some suggestions:
be selective with your attention: in Starbucks there are lots of voices, noises and things to compete for my attention, but I’ve put on my earphones because I want to control what I listen to – not everything deserves your attention.
think about your expectations: do you listen with underlying motives or judgments? If we’re not careful, we can quickly sever conversations and even relationships when we don’t hear what we want. Don’t take everything as rejection & be careful not to allow your insecurity to distort what someone may be trying to communicate.
Prioritize what you hear: the most important thing you should hear or be mindful to listen to is Jesus. In Mark 4:23, He says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” I pray that for each of us, He would help us to hear Him everyday through His Word, His actions and even His voice to us. There is no voice more important than Jesus’ voice
listen to help: if we’re not careful, we fall into the trap of only listening to what we enjoy or want to hear. Sometimes the best way to use your attention is to lend a listening ear. My friend Jim wisely told me that its more important to be interested than interesting. With that in mind, pls take a quick moment to look at this video: http://www.vimeo.com/20154183