Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Are You a Good Listener?

Ok, truth time, 'fess up!

How many times this month have you been told,
"I already told you that!"
and the kicker, "Don't you remember?"?

No, clearly, I don't! I am BUSTED!

The thing is, most of the time, I THINK I'm a good listener.

For several months, I have been noticing the tendancy we adults have
of talking over each other, just to be heard.

My son says ALL adults do it!

He's adamant about it.

I've always thought that it's a shame for people to do that,
and not listen to each other better.

I mean, what's the hurry?

But in the past year, there are several occasions

where I have found myself doing it,

simply because it seemed that I was not going to be given
any break in the conversation.

Let me just say, that the results are NEVER satisfying,
I can tell you that for myself, better to not get to talk at all,
just listen, rather than have to "break-in" to the conversation.

I came across this quote, which isn't attributed to anyone that I could find.
"We were given two ears but only one mouth,
because listening is twice as hard as talking."

Can you tell I have been thinking a LOT about our need to be better listeners?
About MY NEED to be a better listener?
It's even been showing up in my time devotional time.
My time to spend in His Word, and let Him teach me His heart.

I just don't think Jesus ever drowned out the disciples to get His point across!


"And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene,
Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross."
Matthew 27:32
For a long time (hmm...several years?)
I have been touched, puzzled, moved, and what I call "nudged"
(like the Holy Spirit is saying, hmmm, donchya' wonder what that's about?!),
with regards to the wonder of Jesus being helped by Simon to carry the cross.
I know with everything in me, it's significant beyond my comprehensions or revelation to date.
But, I pray over the years to come, I will "get" more of it!
For today, I have a couple of discoveries, and a couple of impressions
that I want to share with you.
If you are wondering what on earth this has to do with listening,
it is my hope to surprise you!
I was preparing for Bible Study yesterday, and as Easter is approaching,
I thought to jump ahead in the Gospels, to what seemed right for last night's topic,
with regards to the crucifixation.
And of course, I couldn't help but think of Simon, helping Jesus with that cross...
What does that mean anyway?
What always speaks to me, on the surface, is the obvious point,
that even Jesus was sometimes not in a position to turn down help.
Would that we could all learn to graciously accept help,
should I figure that out, I will be sure and share that too!
Sometimes I can do this well.
Sometimes NOT! :)
And beyond that, that we need to be aware that at times,
there will be a Simon in our life,
those who can be temporarily in our lives to assist by
helping us carry the burden of the cross we bear at that time.
But, while those observations have a certain merit, I have never been satisfied with this.
I KNOW there is much more there.
And yesterday I got a teensy-tiny bit of the buried treasure!
I broke out my Strong's Concordance and checked out some of the words
that seemed to pop out.
Check this out:
Simon - means to hear, to hear with intelligence, and to obey is implied. To hear carefully!
Whodathunkit? Can I just say this amazed and thrilled me?
Compelled - to be a courier, to be press into public service and, to be an epistle (message) or letter, especially as carried by a state courier or postman.
So what does this mean?
You can see that Bible is always speaking to us in layers.
There are the historical, physical facts recorded.
But there is always, always more layers than meet the eye!
Simon, (someone whose name means someone who listens with intelligence, carefully,
and with obedience), was pressed into public service to carry a message,
to BE a living espistle (sound familiar?).
My Mom says that according to the culture this occurred in, there would have been a stigma, a shame attached to the Simon's role in the crucifixion.
That's something to consider, too.
Sometimes as we follow Him, our choices look very questionable to those we care about,
whose opinions and approval matter to us.
As we puzzled and discussed this last night. We were struck with these facts:
1) That we must surrender to accept help at times. Jesus IS our example.
2) That it's really, truly important to God that we be GOOD Listeners!
Good at listening to Him, and to those in our paths,
as we daily deny ourselves, pick up our respective crosses and follow Him!
3) That as a follower of Christ, we are called to be intelligent & obedient listeners, to Him,
and to each other.
It's part of our calling to "Bear ye one another's burdens,
and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2",
because sometimes that is ALL we need to do, LISTEN!
4)That our calling as a follower of Christ, means that as we listen to Him,
it's a supernatural fact, that we will be transformed,
and that transformation will result in us being a Living Epistle,
a message, and a messenger!
A Message, because our life should testify somewhere, somehow!
A MessengER because we should always be ready to testify of the reason for our hope!
Not to preach, but neither to be ashamed to show the gratitude we have for Him!
For His power and mercy at work in our lives!
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
Luke 9:23
So, ARE you a good listener? For me, you know,
not so good as I would like, not so good at all.
But, I AM getting better! :)


luvmy4sons said...

Awesome message! Awesome. I so need to be reminded of it. I am quick with a word and obviosuly because of my blog not shy about shairing my thoughts. I SO need to listen more! Thank you dear sister! Always encouraging and always sharpening me!

Denise said...

This is such a wonderful message, thanks for sharing it. I need to keep my ears tuned to that still small voice always. Be blessed dear one.

Nicki said...

Oh this was so great! I'm actually teaching on this part (listening) tomorrow night at bible study so this was super for me to read! Thanks so much for sharing!

kassi said...

great post Maria. I have found myself doing the same thing...trying to break into conversation in order to be heard...but how often have I been frustrated when someone started talking over ME because they weren't listening to what I had to say?

Listening IS much harder.

freetofly said...

Leslie, thank you! I'm telling you, I don't know if its the times we live in or my age, but trust me, I was talking to myself here! (and hopefully I was listening too! tee-hee!)

Denise, thanks! Yes, that is something I always hope for. I have found in the 15 years of seeking Him, that He likes to change things up to, keep things lively! :)

Nicki, Hey, cool! Love how God brings us all together with all the little bits and pieces! Praying for you! I know it will be great!

Kassi, that IS SOOO what I'm talking about! You know just what I mean. And when I have yielded to that pressure to be heard, I just cringe like nails on a chalk board, you know? Because you are exactly right, it IS harder to listen, and I don't appreciate when its done to me.

Thanks, Ya'll! As Frasier Crane always says, "I'm listening!" ,

Tiffany said...

I really enjoyed this post. The part that just jumped out at me was this...
that transformation will result in us being a Living Epistle, a message, and a messenger!
A Message, because our life should testify somewhere, somehow!
A MessengER because we should always be ready to testify of the reason for our hope! Not to preach, but neither to be ashamed to show the gratitude we have for Him! For His power and mercy at work in our lives! And the verse you shared... to take you our cross DAILY! Whooa! This struck me...not just daily prayer, praise and worship, but the meat and potatoes of it...to take our cross- the hard part- everyday! That's a challenge!

Carole said...

What? What? Did you say something? I was busy forming my comment and I couldn't be taking the time to be listening. Well have a nice day anyway.

freetofly said...

Tiff, I am so glad you enjoyed it! It is great to have this format to share our ponderings, huh? Feedback is a great thing too, so I thank you for that!

Carole, you are a riot! And one of the best listeners I know! Truly!

Thanks, Ya'll!

What Does it Mean Anyway? "Free to Fly"...

Well, it's like this: Here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Free: a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen b : enjoying civil and political liberty c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another2 a : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself...having a scope not restricted by qualification 7 a : not obstructed, restricted, or impeded ...Now, here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Fly:1 a : to move in or pass through the air with wings b : to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space c : to float, wave, or soar in the air ... a : to take flight ...6 : to work successfully ...Examples which apply from Websters: fly high : to be elated - fly in the face of or fly in the teeth of : to stand or act forthrightly or brazenly in defiance or contradiction of

What does this mean in my life? This means that in life we are meant to be free. While historically mankind has not always enjoyed the opportunity to fully appreciate what that means, we are so indescribably fortunate as to live in a time of the greatest spiritual, physical, financial and political freedom ever known. Freedom doesn't come cheap, nor does it come easy. But the best things in life don't come that way do they? As I write this I am struck by how this sounds like a political statement, and for me this is much more of a spiritual thing, but, same goes for that (political that is). Freedom doesn't come easy. And it's worth whatever fight you have to make to overcome in your life in order to live a life that succeeds. Now the questions is - what is success for you? What is your standard? In my mind what is needed is a definite target - because you can't hit and maintain a moving target. A stable, rock-solid, anchor with no variable, yet multi-faceted. Something pure, just and worthy. If you look at any web page of news you can see that our society is certainly lacking in this area. What a great time to live as a rebel! Nowadays to be a rebel, all you have to do is be willing to engage in the battle of life, while anchored to Christ!