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The Many Ways of Listening.

The last 24 hours have been recurring reminders of "how to listen." Self-admittedly, this is a big weakness of mine. Believing that I can multi-task and listen at the same time is a fallacy. When I was running my company, they actually did skits in a team building event based on my "listening skills," or lack-there-of (those of you who were there, know exactly what I am referencing!). I sucked at listening, and it hasn't gotten much better!

Listening is an art, and one that we must intentionally pursue to get better each day. With so many possible distractions in life (instant messages, texts, emails, people talking around us, our own mind wandering), it is easy to not listen, or at least listening to understand.

Here are a few lessons in listening that I have experience the past few days:

Lesson One: Listen attentively, ask good questions, no need to share your story.

During a discussion with my friend Nicole, and after listening to a message on "listening," she told me about a situation where she was at lunch with a friend who is pregnant. Right before the lunch, she listened to an audio by a gentleman named Steve Shapiro. He spoke about how you need to NOT think about telling your own story (maybe your "one-up" story), but allowing the person you are speaking with to fully share their story, then following up with asking GREAT questions, not always sharing your experience, or even interrupting their story with your story. (Reminds me of John Maxwell's book Good Leaders ask Great Questions.)

That then led into my Transformation Table and the lesson on "listening" this morning, when I was then reminded by my friend Mary Kay that sometimes people just want to talk and aren't looking for advice or counsel, they just want to be heard. I am a "fix-it" person and am always thinking of what I can say to "help" or "fix" something. Yep, this is a huge issue for me.

Both of these experiences reminded me to listen better. Not listening to respond, but to understand.

Lesson Two: Listening requires me to be intentionally quiet.

After my Transformation Table and my morning walk, I sat down to do my morning devotionals. I asked God during my walk to give me what I needed to hear, either through reading or listening to my church service. I got through reading many of my devotionals, but nothing was really prevalent in my life for today. Until the last one. BAM! It was a lesson on LISTENING (thank you Rick Warren for a great message in Open Doors)!

This time, the reminder was to quiet myself, with no other input (reading, talking, listening), other than just sitting quiet with God and asking him to be the center of my life, and letting him know that I want to hear from him. THEN BE QUIET and just listen. Listen for what God is trying to tell me.

I have been challenged by a few people the last couple of years to quiet my thoughts and just listen. It is hard for me - as I go, go, go. But, the more I take time to just listen, the closer I am to God, and the more I hear His wisdom. This is a HUGE work in progress, and most days I completely suck at it! But, I am committed to this being an area of INTENTIONAL focus.

Quiet my mind...and listen. me God!

How are your listening skills? Anything you can improve upon? LOL...I just chuckle, as most of us have room for improvement here.

Be intentional about listening, asking questions, and being quiet. That's what I am hearing...

Side note: When I was looking for a picture to put this quote on, I saw this and it reminded me to have tunnel vision when listening. Thank you @tanner.price_ for the great photo!

Photo Credit: @tanner.price_
Photo Credit: @tanner.price_

If you would like a copy of any of the devotionals or books I reference, please send me an email (button below) and I would be happy to send you one. Please reference the title of the post/devotional to ensure I send you the correct devotional/author. See my mission in the "About Me" link.

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About Me

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My overall goal is to help create healthy, happy humans through sharing the Christian Wisdom and Servant Leadership principles as I discover them along the way.  I also have a very aggressive goal in life....

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