Monday, March 12, 2012

Learning To Listen

“Richard stop talking and listen!” I said for the hundredth time.

He was a challenging student; a bright young man who would not stop talking long enough to listen. I often found myself hoping he was absent because he had a knack for turning quiet students into noisy ones like himself.

I taught Richard for three years, and he never changed. When I moved away, he was still talking and not listening. I suppose every class has its Richard.

Multitasking is possible, but I’m not convinced it is with talking and listening. They involve different parts of the body, one of which has to remain still so the other can function. Like Richard, I too have been guilty of not listening on more than one occasion-to parents, grandparents, teachers and yes, even God.

Paul did a better job: When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to (Acts 16:7). He was interested in hearing God clearly and correctly so he could be where God wanted him-and at the right time.

Proper position and the correct tools are equally important when listening for God’s instructions. Receiving his best and enjoying abundant life don’t happen automatically. Certain criteria must exist.

Quiet times are essential if I expect to hear God. Overloaded schedules and a fast paced environment make them challenging, but what I prioritize materializes. While God can shout over my daily noise, it’s easier to hear him in hushed moments.

And God has certain methods he uses when speaking-primarily his Word and prayer. If I neglect either I’ll plunge over embankments of missed opportunities and turn down dead end streets of wrong timing. Learn to be quiet before God so you can hear his plan.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, enable us to listen more than we talk so Your ways and thoughts will become ours.
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  1. I'm trying to give up multitasking for Lent, and this lesson you speak of has been so true. I *thought* I could still give my full attention to somebody on the phone as I continued to scan the newspaper or read e-mails, but now that I'm intentionally doing one thing at a time (or trying anyway!), I'm discovering that multitasking was cutting things short. Thanks for this today.

  2. It is nearly impossible to truly listen while talking, isn't it?

    So, why is my prayer time so often taken up with telling God things He already knows, rather than listening for instruction?

    Something to I listen...

    Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Such simple advice, but so hard to follow sometimes! I am working on quieting myself, my mind, my life, to better hear Him speak.

    Thanks for linking up at Hear It, Use It at Graceful!

  4. This is so good! I too, can be like Richard...annoying the whole class and teacher with my incessant talking. I wonder how many instructions I have missed due to my open mouth and wagging tongue?

  5. Great analogy...very pertinent for me...I often get too busy to listen to the Lord, even when I'm having my "quiet" time! Thanks.