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How well do you LISTEN?

Posted by on July 22, 2010

If you know me well, you will know that I have fully mastered the skill of “pouring out my heart.” It often helps me deal with my trials when I am able to process verbally or in writing. But the Lord has recently been stretching me in this area, and in the process, my eyes have been opened to some glaring sins in my life.

Back in February a friend challenged me to take notice of how I listen to those around me, to focus on NOT speaking but instead listening to others and to God. It was then that I began realizing how little I really do LISTEN. Most of the conversations I had with people were focused on ME – MY week, MY life, MY struggles – and when I realized this, it was extremely discouraging. I would leave conversations realizing that I talked the entire time and didn’t learn a single thing about what was going on in the lives of anyone else…and I felt like a failure.

I have been making slow progress in this area, but the Lord is not finished with me yet. He keeps repeating: Don’t speak; LISTEN. It is becoming more common for me to truly rejoice with others in their circumstances – more than before – simply because I took the time to listen and hear what was important to them. But this not only applies to the physical relationships I have here on earth; if my relationship with the Lord is to grow deeper, I need to learn to listen.

I spent a good chunk of this summer at my parents’ house where I grew up. A few weeks ago, I decided to get out my first prayer journal (from when I was 17). It is encouraging to look back and see how much the Lord has taught me since then, but I began noticing an important relational piece that was missing in my relationship with the Lord – taking time to quiet my heart to LISTEN and learn from Him. Don’t get me wrong, I have been learning through Scripture all along, and I have heard the Lord’s voice many times in making decisions; this is simply an area that is being reinforced in my life.

This past week I have been unpacking and organizing my new apartment. My main fear of living alone was that I would be “forgotten.” The Lord has dispelled that fear with His peace AND has been faithful to provide me abundantly with friends in Greeley to visit and spend time with. But today as I finally had some down time, I was drawn to the quietness of the Lord’s presence – not to tell Him about my struggles, fears, and frustrations – but to sit and LISTEN.

A thunderstorm came through this afternoon. As I sat and LISTENED, I realized that for some reason I actually felt CLOSER to the Lord in that moment, physically alone at my apartment with the thunder booming and the wind blowing sheets of rain onto my window. I was reminded of His power to control storms such as these – as well as the storms of my life. When struggling through “stormy” trials, sometimes all we need is to sit in a corner of quietness with the Lord. When we take the time to LISTEN, we will hear His voice in the stillness, whispering words that we otherwise would have missed. When we take the time to LISTEN, we will discover who He is.

“Who You Are”
by Enter the Worship Circle

I won’t be satisfied,
I won’t be found alright
Till I find who You are.

I climb every mountain,
I travel the deepest valley
To find who You are.

You cause the lame to walk,
You open lips to talk,
You’re everything,
And that is who You are.

You calm the storms at night,
You turn the dark to light,
You’re everything,
And that is who You are.

My Savior, my Healer, Redeemer,
That is who You are!
Creator, my Maker, my Father,
That is who You are!

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