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When we talk about the gift of listening.
It brings awareness to me the power of being quiet and actually taking the time to listen to someone.
To listen to their words, to watch their body language, what they are not saying, while they are sharing.
Matters of the heart are to be treated in a tender, fragile way.
How often have you felt ‘safe’ enough to share places inside your ‘spirit’?
I just spent time with my best friend and as she talked and shared I wanted to truly listen.
I wanted to remember her voice, her ways of expressing herself, the gift of ‘being herself’.
It is not something we want to take for granted or miss an opportunity for connection.
The definition of listen is to pay attention; to hear something with thoughtful attention; to be alert.
When I was in counseling the words I said were heard on many levels.
He listened to what I said, and what I was not saying.
Both are necessary and both are real when one is talking about conversation.
It is a skill. An art. To listen with out thinking of what ‘you are saying’ next.
I remember one time my little grandson was talking to his grandpa and at one point he said,
“grandpa are you Yistening” to me? (he didn’t say the L sound in the word.)
It was a valid question as we all want to be heard. To be valued. To be important enough for someone to hear us.
The real test of a relationship is how easy it is for us to hear. How much do we desire ‘the connection.’
How important it is for us to spend the time to listen to one another.
The word listen is in the bible 397 times, that is a significant amount of warnings.
[They would not listen but were stubborn, as their ancestors had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God.]
11 Kings 17:14

Hardness of heart will make us NOT want to listen.

[“See, I waited for your words, I listened for your wise sayings, while you searched out what to say.”] Job 32:11
[“If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say.”] Job 34:16

Do you see the pattern? I WAITED, I leaned in and paused with you while you gathered your thoughts.

[If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer.] Psalm 66:18,19
[For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!] Psalm 95:7

How about this example?

[She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying.] Luke 10:39

I am often reminded of the Mary story, as her heart was set on listening to every word of Jesus.
Nothing was more important to her. No job was more valued than to listen and lean in.
What a challenge for us. To truly listen with our mind, our heart and our body language.
What about these words?

26  [‘Go to this people and say, You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
27  For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn —
and I would heal them.’] Acts 28:26-28

Good words to think on, in this noisy world that we live in. May we choose to listen and not be hardened.
May we see and not always judge, may we give attention to, what is the most important.
To learn the gift of listening.