“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!
We had dinner last night with a lovely couple & the husband said something profound that is continuing to echo in my thoughts today: We are not all called to talk, in terms of public speaking, but we are all called to listen.
There are times, no doubt, when we need to speak up & be advocates for love and justice. Additionally, some of us have the gift of gab & our personality lends itself to be a “talker.” But let us never minimize the importance of listening – not only with our ears or intellect (so that we can interject a witty comment or some helpful wisdom), but also with our heart, so that we can be attentive with compassion, tender affection and gentle endurance.
In Mark 4:9, Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Recently, one of my kids had some pain in their ear & I was concerned that it might be an ear infection. So we did the standard dr visit only to discover that this offspring didn’t have an ear infection but rather just needed a good ear cleaning. Truth be known, I was really grossed out when I watched this process along with the outcomes. But I do like that this child is now free from ear pain & double bonus: they hear me better!!!
Which makes me think that maybe if we kept our ears more clean to hear God, perhaps we could avoid some unnecessary pain. I think that we all have hearing obstructions from time to time when it comes to listening to God. So let’s allow the Holy Spirit to clean out our spiritual ears & turn up the volume on God’s voice in our lives 🙂
What might be some obstructions in your life that keep you from hearing God accurately & clearly?
I’ve learned that typing in all caps in social media is the same as yelling & I’m not attracted to yelling, full stop. Indeed, when I would practice piano & my dad would yell at me for something, I seemed to make more & more mistakes the more he yelled.
The problem with yelling is that the listener can easily get distracted by the method & miss the message. With my dad, his emotions would get so intense that he’d yell but I can’t really remember what he said.
With saying all of that, I shot this picture last night: I was trying to concentrate on a really important writing assignment & I kept noticing that the sky was getting increasingly pink. Finally, I stopped my writing & man am I glad I did! As I took a pause to look at this unbelievable sunset, I heard our Triune God whisper, “Thanks for looking Sarah, We love you”.
God’s message & methods are altogether riveting & I’m entirely addicted to the divine love experience, no yelling needed 🙂
There are more things that we don’t see & hear than we realize. If you think about it, our eyes & ears are designed to absorb a select range of frequencies. With that being said, we have to understand that there are sights & sounds happening around us of which we are unaware.
So let’s be careful that we don’t put all of our faith only in what we see & hear.
1Cor 2:9 says that there are things that our eyes haven’t seen & our ears haven’t heard, nor has entered into our hearts all the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.
Don’t sink your faith in natural thinking 🙂
I wanted to write up a quick post yesterday but I had more work than time – sorry!
I’m particularly fond of the few days immediately following Christmas because they feel like an exhale to me. The days leading up to Christmas can sometimes be a frenzied collection of meal preparation, last minute wrapping, gifts, holiday bustle and manic hustle. But the days after Christmas seem to be more peaceful to me. Everything seems to get more calm, peaceful and manageable. Let me encourage you to take some time in these days to pause, reflect and rejuvenate. Drink deeply of God’s presence and nestle into God’s unlimited love for you. Jesus was born for us out of no other motivation than genuine love 🙂
On a quickie side note, please remember to pray for South Sudan – they’ve had close to 2 weeks of intense conflict and thousands have been killed there in the last 10 days.
I find that listening is an amazing experience. Here are some reasons why. When I listen:
*i am present w the person who is speaking
*i broaden my experience & perspective by hearing another persons point of view
*i gain, learn & grow
*my relationship can deepen & grow
What has been profoundly riveting is when I listen to God. These times for me are nothing less than breath taking. It’s good to listen
Our lives tend to be really full with activities, relationship, things we have to do, twitter, facebook, concerns, etc. If you’re like me, sometimes I have a hard time hearing God in the midst of the noise of life. Indeed, sometimes His voice seems so small that it is a stark contrast to the loudness of everything else. Here’s something that you might find useful in listening to God:
H – help! Ask God to help you to hear His voice (it’s interesting to note that Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Helper)
E – eliminate distractions. Is there some “noise” you could eliminate? Switch off some unnecessary noise & perhaps this “off” could be an “on” switch for hearing God better
A – available. Make some time on a consistent basis (I’d suggest daily) to be available to God – for Him to speak with you on whatever topic He choses, or even just to be in His presence, if He choses to be quiet.
R – revere. It is often true that whatever we honor & revere tends to grow in our lives & the reverse is also true. I find that I express my honor & reverence in lots of different ways, but very often by how I spend time. Time can be a very honest reflection of what is important in our lives, especially our discretionary time
When my kids ask me, “Guess what, mom?” my answer is always, “I’m listening”. There are lots of different ways to communicate beyond just verbal communications: through our clothes, what & how we drive, our body language, text language (hope u r feelng gr8!) and much more. Perhaps, we are always communicating, even when we don’t realize it.
On the flip side, I think that God is also always communicating – through His creation, various conversations, relationships, a still small voice, music, His Word & lots more. Perhaps God is talking even more than we listen or realize. With this thought in mind, I always want to say to The Trinity, “I’m listening”. I’m listening not only with my ears, I’m listening with my heart, listening with my emotions, listening with my mind, listening with eyes, . . . . I’m listening. May God give us hearing ears & sensitive hearts 🙂