Learning to Listen

When a friend or an acquaintance is going through a trial, probably the best thing you can do for them is to just show up and listen. Try not to give too much advice, unless the Lord specifically lays something on your heart. This is sometimes difficult to gauge because most of us are in love with the sound of our own voices. 🙂 I have found that the more time I spend in prayer, the more often God will give me exactly the right words at exactly the right moment. (On the other hand, I always mess things up if I try to figure out what I’m going to say ahead of time – I think because I try to force the conversation in a certain direction, rather than actually listening).

By learning to listen, you are giving your friends the much needed opportunity to work things out on their own. Either God will answer your prayers, and their troubles will dissolve, or He is allowing them to grow by seeing them through the crisis. If that turns out to be the case, they may need to talk things through and discover just what they are learning or how they are changing as a result of their current situation. We often merely need to chat for a while, asking questions, answering some of our own questions, and just basically meander through our own thoughts and feelings to reach a conclusion. I don’t know how many times I’ve had a “chat” with my sister, father, or husband in which they only said a couple of words; I did the rest of the talking, but by the time I ran out of things to say, I had pretty much figured out what I needed to do or learn. Anyway, your friends probably already know the answer, but they haven’t arrived at it consciously.

2 responses to “Learning to Listen

  1. I like this quote: God has three answers to prayer: yes; not yet; or, I have something better in mind.

    I agree that listening is very valuable, whether we need to be the ones listening or doing the talking. It’s important to realize that at various times in life, we’ll be in each of those roles.

    Thanks for sharing! Sheila

  2. Neat quote! I just went through a painful trial in my life. The whole time, I was thinking, “What am I supposed to be learning from this?” It’s over now, and I think I took away what I was supposed to, but I’m still on the lookout for something I may have missed! While of course I prayed for immediate relief, I think that I needed to experience the pain over a longer period of time to really settle in my mind that my eating habits needed to change. So hopefully, the “something better” that God had in mind was a healthier, longer life.
    I also need to remember that quote when bringing up my son. When he has an injury, he always prays for immediate healing. I pray that God will increase his faith by healing him, but I also know that it would be good for him to learn to be careful when he’s playing rough. Maybe I can articulate this to him in a way that he can understand on those rare occasions when he isn’t healed immediately. (I say rare because my son’s track record of answered prayer is pretty phenomenal.)
    Thanks for the thoughts!

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