31 Days of Giving Permission . . . to LISTEN

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Talk about a verb with many layers of meaning!
Listening
happens at many different levels, doesn’t it?

We listen to a speaker (which is so much easier to do when said speaker
is as listenable as Jennifer Dukes Lee!)

 We listen in a small group setting,
trying to sift out one voice from another,
opening ourselves to understand and be understood. 

But when it gets down to one-on-one,
an entirely different set of skills needs to settle in,
skills that require us to focus,
to listen without anticipating our own response,
to ask careful questions and make appropriate responses.

When one other person is telling us their story,
we are required to line up our head with our heart,
and to prayerfully look for nuances and unspoken truths.
It’s a complicated and important process,
this kind of listening.

And it is very, very important.

So today, I want to give you permission to make room
in your life, in your schedule, in your heart
for practicing good listening.

And you need to start practicing with . . .

listening to yourself first,
and then, listening to God. 

So, how can we listen to ourselves?
Life is full, there are kids to raise,
jobs to finish,
schedules to keep,
obligations to be met.
There is little space to breathe,
much less navel-gaze, right?

Uh, that would be a ‘NO.’

There is no other form of self-care I know anything about
that is more important than this:
carving out a few minutes every day to
listen to what our heart wants to say to us. 

Ten minutes. 
Just 10 minutes.
Find a quiet corner,
breathe deeply,
close your eyes
and listen.

Who are you in this moment?
Who do you want to be?
What are your dreams —
both literal and figurative?
(Remember that God works in our subconscious
as well as our conscious minds,
so dreams are often rich reminders
of what God is doing in us.)

Then take a big breath and offer what you hear
to God, to the only God who hears us when we cry,
the God of Hagar,
the God who sees and the God who hears.

If you have one, trusted, listening friend – you have a great gift.
Take what you learn in these short listening windows
and talk it over,
and maybe pray it over,
with that friend who hears you,
the one who listens.

I think you’ll be amazed at what you hear,
at how you grow,
at what you learn about God’s faithfulness,
and about YOU,
how you’re wired, who you are.

And that kind of listening can change your life. 

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Comments

  1. I am very good at listening to others. I suck at listening to myself. (And I would have loved to have heard Jennifer speak! Sadly, i was otherwise engaged that weekend.)

  2. I am not much of a dreamer … maybe this 10 minutes would be just the ticket for me.

    (But I have crazy dreams at night.)

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  3. Reliving these photos and smiling all happy and wistful.

    I think I’m pretty good at listening to others. The harder thing is to give others the opportunity to listen to me–though I’m pretty good at giving God a chance to listen.

    • You are good at listening, Sandy – to God and to others. But that last one is the hardest one, I think. We all need to practice that self-listening.

  4. This one took me by surprise Diana – a wondering sort of surprise. Listening to myself. I have been concerned about being a better listener to others – but to me. Not so much. Thank you so much for this.

    • You’re welcome, Linda. It is important to stop long enough to listen to who we are, deep down inside. God whispers to us there and our intuitions and our ‘guts,’ if we’re seeking to know God better, are necessary and important. Thanks for coming by!

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