Listen Up!Apr 13, 2023
By Nancy Lindgren
I recently had an interesting interaction with a woman I met for the first time. She was an open book from the get-go and poured out her story within minutes of our introduction. I love those personalities! She shared from her heart with passion. She was authentic and didn’t hold back the hard stuff. There were tears in her eyes. I did a lot of listening and very little talking. At the end of our encounter, I said the words, “to be continued.” She emphatically agreed. I was really intrigued by her and truly wanted to get to know her better.
The next day I found out that she had told a friend of mine that our short time together had an impact on her. It was so interesting to me because I had done so little. It got me thinking about the importance of listening because that’s basically all I did but it must have meant a lot to her.
Of course, we know it’s the Holy Spirit working through us but here are a few practical things I did that must have made a difference:
- I looked her in the eyes.
- I felt true compassion for her.
- I empathized with her.
- I silently prayed for her asking God to reveal Himself to her.
- I didn’t judge her even though I disagreed with some of the things she was sharing.
- I responded with encouraging verbal and nonverbal cues.
I’m not saying I always get this right, but I have come to learn that one of the most powerful ways we can connect with another person is to listen up and not feel like we have to do all the talking to make an impact.
What should our goals be in listening?
- Showing compassion.
- Building trust.
- Deeper understanding.
What shouldn’t our goals be in listening?
- Making sure my opinion is heard.
- Letting them know where they are wrong.
- Giving solutions or quick fixes.
Here’s how God reminds us to “listen up”:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19b).
Therefore consider carefully how you listen (Luke 8:18a).
Let the wise listen and add to their learning (Proverbs 1:5a)
To answer before listening - that is folly and shame (Proverbs 18:13).
So, my friends, let’s continue to learn how to better “listen up” to those around us who could really use a listening ear more than anything else. Let me know how God is using your ears to impact others!
Nancy Lindgren is an author, speaker and the Founder of MORE Mentoring, whose mission is to inspire women to love and encourage others through prayer-focused mentoring. She and her husband, Mark, have midwestern roots, but now call Fairplay, Colorado home. They have four grown children and a well-worn welcome mat at their front door.
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