3: Can You Hear Me Now?
“Know this my dear brothers; everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19
There is a profound difference between listening and hearing. Listening is what we do with our ears but truly hearing is a skill that employs not only the ears but the heart as well. We live in a world that is noisy, chaotic and distracting and so many lost and hurting souls wander through it desperately needing to be heard. As a person of first contact you have the opportunity to not only hear the stories and desires of God’s children, you have the privilege of hearing their need for something so much bigger than the things of this world so as St. James suggests, be quick to hear.
Tips To Turn Your Listening Into Hearing
- When someone is speaking, look them in the eye.
- Face the person speaking for two reasons. First, it shows them that what they have to say is important enough for you to pause everything else and listen to. Second, it helps you avoid distraction as you concentrate on just one thing.
- Empty your hands and put down the distractions. When someone is speaking, put down the phone, pencil, keyboard and whatever else might be in your hand.
- Provide periodic affirmation that you are listening. You can nod, say “I see”, “humm” or respond with an expression that lets the speaker know you are engaged. When appropriate respond with excitement or surprise as they tell their story. It’s ok to say things like “Oh my” or “Really?” or “Wow!” to let them know you are really hearing and feeling the emotion of the conversation.
- Focus only on the words being spoken by them, don’t let your mind drift off and start to formulate your response, just be present for them. If you find your mind drifting throw up a quick request to the Holy Spirit to help you listen and hear.
- Don’t give advice or share your personal story unless they ask. If you really want to hear them, keep the conversation about them; not yourself.
- If the conversation is lengthy, wait for an opening and re-phrase what you’re hearing to make sure you have a clear understanding. It’s ok to ask questions for clarity if necessary.
- There is no way they can tell you everything, so avoid judging and conclusions. If you find yourself doing this, ask the Holy Spirit for a loving open heart and remind yourself you don’t know what you don’t know! Your job is to hear, not solve, unravel or offer judgement. Just listen in a way that allows you to hear. Hear with God’s ears not mans.
We serve a Mighty God but the service he asks of us is usually very simple. The better you get at hearing, the more you will come to understand that very often a loving, hearing friend is the best medicine ever. Listen as the Father would listen with love, respect and patience. If hearing is a skill that you want to improve, put the verse from James on a post it note where you can see it before each conversation.
Thank you for reading and may God bless you richly as you continue on this journey to Entertain Angels.
“Where there is no guidance, a nation falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14