"I can't hear you." "You weren't listening."
Hearing: one of the 5 senses that in a typical person is involuntary and doesn't require effort.
Listening: intentionally and with focus attuning the sense of hearing to take in communication.
How is this a sign of maturity? Psh, how is it NOT?
Sorry, teenagers, but I'm going to use you as a whole as an example. Teenagers' brains are still growing. Their character is forming. They hear a lot of things, but they're still learning to listen. If you work with kids or teenagers you know this. Hopefully as we grow up we transition from just hearing things to actively listening; taking in the words AND inflection of communication that tell us the whole story.
A mature person actively listens to communication, carefully gathering the information WITHOUT formulation judgement or calculating how they're going to reply. (Not Quick To Judge!) What if the most crucial sentence is the last one? Better wait till they're done talking to start forming a response.
I feel that we're all pretty clear on the importance of true listening. Cool. Because I want to talk about the next levels of listening.
Can you listen to yourself? You know when you're about to say yes to yet another project and you hear that little part of you scream, "I'M ALREADY SO WORN OUT! DON'T DO IT!", but you say yes anyway? And then when you're sick because you were over loaded do you listen to your body because it's trying to tell you to slow down, rest, and heal?
And the ultimate level of listening: a mature person is good at listening to God. Or the universe. Whatever you call the energy that surrounds and created us all. Can you hear that voice? Can you quiet yourself long enough to hear the answers to the questions you've been asking?
And this is the confidence that we have towards him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (1 John 5:14)
Maturity is patiently and carefully listening to yourself, your body, others, and God. All that listening leaves less time for talking, which I think may be the point of the being a good listener. It saves us from accidentally saying silly things. More on that in the next blog!
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