Never Underestimate The Influence Of Listening.

I sunk down to the porch steps in exhaustion, defeat, and tears. I had yelled all morning and the entire day before - I felt alone and I just needed some quiet air to breath in.

Have you been there before? Completely at your whit's end and all you need is an ear to vent to?

I ran through the list of my people in my head and came up with an excuse not to call each one of them...

Nope - she's busy working, she doesn't have time to squeeze me in last minute...

Nope - she just had a baby - she's got enough problems to handle...

Nope - she's an hour away and prepping for her weekend...

Nope - I've never connected with her that way...

Nope - she's never been a great listener...

Nope - I don't know her well enough...

Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

On my list of people, I ran out because I could see their burdens. Instead of offering them a chance to minister to me, I took responsibility for their burdens, or adding to them, and I couldn't bring myself to reach out.

Perhaps it's my pride, perhaps it's things from my past haunting me, maybe it's that I just don't feel like my issues are something necessary to talk about...I'm not sure, but I didn't end up calling anyone.

Ultimately, I think it's just that I needed a listening ear and I so rarely feel the necessity to reach out in that manner that I didn't know WHO to connect with on that day.

I started thinking about what I actually needed...

Pastor talked about a passage from 1 Samuel on Sunday - 23:15-18 about Jonathan encouraging David: While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.

I realized that I was searching for just that the other day, some encouragement and a listening ear.

I struggle with falling to my knees at times like this, I try and juggle everything on my own, I think I struggle with trusting that simply praying will make things better - I constantly take responsibility for my own issues when my Heavenly Father's arms are open wide to pull me close, rest my head on his shoulder - soaking up my tears - and LISTENING.

I journaled this prayer: Jesus, I come to you, again - so grieved over my responses to my son. Father, I hate the way I explode at my children. I so long to show them your grace and your love and my heart's deepest desire is for them to love, reflect and follow you with all their hearts. And I fail. Daily. At reflecting you, myself. Forgive me for allowing my anger to control me. Forgive my yelling and being cruel to my children who I adore so much. Jesus, do a work inside of me - give me your strength to control myself and help me to know the best way to train and discipline them. God, help the boys not to remember me as a yeller, or to feel like they can never please me, but help me to love them as you want me to. Help them to know my love and my pleasure and my pride in them. Help me to bless their hearts - help me to minister to them my very best. Help me to know how to teach my son. Help us to figure out our school relationship and help it to be about you.

I was greatly relieved to be able to share a part of my struggles, shortly after the tears, with a friend and then, after scribbling that prayer on Sunday, my weight was lifted more. And pastor continued on about how to be a good encourager which caused me to think about listening.

How, on that day, all I needed was a listener.

A listener. A big part of encouragement and encouraging. Something that I have been gifted with and something that drew me to my husband in our early days of being friends.

So, what is a good listener? I will explain.

  1. A good listener LISTENS. This might seem obvious, but if you insist on commenting, or inserting your thoughts, you're not listening, you are sharing. Start by just listening, letting your friend empty their heart and soul to you while you just absorb what they are saying.

  2. A good listener HEARS. I don't mean just hearing the voice talking, I mean hearing and processing the words being said. Take into consideration what that person is sharing with you, their feelings, their struggle, truly, the gift of what they are sharing with you.

  3. Ask questions, asking questions shows that you are hearing them, that you are listening. Don't ask just anything, think about what they said and ask something applicable to their struggle.

  4. Don't give them your opinion or what you would do. Unless they ask for that, just don't. They are talking to you to be heard. You are allowing healing to happen in their hearts by giving them the chance to process out loud, don't interrupt that or discredit them or minimize what they are saying or feeling by interjecting yourself or someone else's story on theirs. It hurts and is not helpful.

  5. Know that there is a difference between asking for advice and needing a listening ear. By looking, you probably think it's super obvious, but really, when someone calls you to chat, you may need to discern what they are looking for. Maybe they can't actually ask for advice flat out, or maybe they can't articulate that they need a listening ear and not advice.


never-underestimate-the-power-of-listening

Now, are you a good listener? Do you know someone that could use a listening ear?

You may never know how far the simple gesture of just being quiet and listening can go.

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