Working for Lifechurch is definitely an adventure. It is fast-paced, ever-changing, but most of all, rich in development. Whether it is due to the demand for excellence or maybe the call to live in Christ’s image, you are constantly aware of your ineptness or as we say, your “opportunities for growth.”
That being said, I have recently recognized my need to develop better listening skills. I have tried to implement several tactics for becoming a better listener; however, I’ve found that my natural tendency is to jump ahead, finish your sentence and even cut you off (because I know exactly where you are going). How have I never seen this? And how can I be so rude?
Well, as I sat down to read tonight, I came across a passage concerning Active Listening (Lord, you are so funny). So, in case I’m not alone in this struggle, I thought I would share it with all of you.
Many people wrongly assume that listening is a passive process of being silent while another person speaks. We may even believe that we are good listeners, but what we are often doing is listening selectively, making judgments about what is being said, and thinking of ways to end the conversation or redirect the conversation in ways more pleasing to ourselves. Will Rogers once said that if we didn’t know it was our turn to speak next, nobody would listen.
We can all think roughly four times faster than others can speak. Consequently, there is generally a lot noise – internal conversation – going on up in our heads as we’re listening. Active listening requires a disciplined effort to silence all that internal conversation while we’re attempting to listen to another human being. It requires a sacrifice, an extension of ourselves, to block out the noise and truly enter another person’s world – even for a few minutes. Active listening is attempting to see things as the speaker sees them and attempting to feel things as the speaker feels them. This identification with the speaker is referred to as empathy and requires a great deal of effort. ~ The Servant, James C. Hunter
Simply put, but difficult to put into action. At the end of the day, when we are willing to set aside all distractions, even mental distractions, we’ll finally accomplish the idea of listening. More importantly, each person we interact with will feel valued and significant.
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” ~John 13:34-35