His accent was thicker than early morning fog. No matter how I tried to slice through it, I could only grasp about every third word, if I was lucky. It was mentally tiring and very hard work. Unfortunately, my brain was not in a working mood that day. So I stopped listening. I put my brain in neutral and coasted.
Only thing is, on the way home, my husband shared some of the things he had heard from the speaker. He wondered what I’d thought. What did I think of this particular statement the man said. I had to confess I didn’t know. I had stopped listening. Evidently, I had missed a lot!
I wonder: Do I do that with God, also? When I don’t understand what He is saying, or what He wants me to do, do I just stop listening? Do I just want to take His grace the easy way, and not put forth any effort to hear Him?
I’ve found there are several reasons I give up on listening to God. Maybe you will recognize some of these:
1. When I don’t understand. Sometimes God’s ways are not as clear as I would like them to be. I’m a process driven person, and like knowing directions from point A to point B to point C. God may zig zag around a bit, and I struggle to understand.
2. When I’m in a hurry and God is a bit slow (according to me!), I tend to stop listening. I’m sure, like with the speaker, that at this point I miss a lot! I’m so thankful the Lord is more patient with me than I am with Him!
3. I stop listening when I believe I see the answer to my problem. I barrel ahead, and muddle through on my own. Sometimes this works, sometimes it’s iffy, at best.
If these resonate with you, know this: Listening is hard work! It’s an art. But there are things that will help you craft the art of listening.
Listening takes patience. I have an acquaintance who speaks very slowly, and takes a while to get her words out. Waiting to hear what she has to say is like watching snails crawl. But eventually she gets to the point. I need to practice patience while I listen to her. It’s the same with God. I know He will speak, I just don’t know how or when. I must be patient!
Listening is an act of love. Nothing shows a person love more than taking the time to listen to their heart. It’s putting yourself and your agenda second, so that you can heart what they have to say. Think how much love we show toward the Lord, when we are still and listening to Him.
Listening is an attitude. You can have a great attitude or posture of listening when you lean in and show interest. Try it the next time you need to listen to someone. Gently lean in toward them. How can we do this with God? Many times I simply open my hands, palm up, as a symbol that I am open to hearing Him. It’s a heart attitude.
Good listening takes time. If I take the time to read God’s Word, asking questions along the way, then I MUST take time to stop and listen for His response. It may not come today. It may not come tomorrow. But I have to give Him time to answer. God’s time is not my time. Wait on Him.
If, like me, you tend to stop listening, don’t give up. Learning to listen well is a gradual process. Praise God, He never gives up on us!
And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Yes, I’m listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 TLB
Lord, Thank You for being faithful and never giving up on us! Give us ears to hear Your instructions, Father God. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Grace be with you,