Are you Listening?
How many times have you talked with a friend or family member about something to which you were certain they did not hear a word you said? They may have been nodding and agreeing with you, but did they really listen to you?
Possibly you’ve even done the same thing to a friend, or if you’re a parent, your kids?
My daughters often come up to me and start talking while I’m in the middle of returning a text or email. They’ve accused me of not listening. They’re right. I could not have my attention in two places at the same time. I wanted to listen, but was distracted.
We face distractions all day long. Dare I even say never have we been so distracted as we are today. Our smart phones can notify us with text, social media and email updates all day long.
what matters more
Listening does not come easy. We’re often much better at asking, telling, complaining, yelling, or avoiding than we are at listening.
To listen, I mean really listen takes a patient and humble heart. It requires the desire to understand instead of being understood. Listening means what I think might matter, matters less now because someone else matters more.
Listen to Him
In Matthew 17 we read a story about Jesus going up a mountain with 3 of his closest disciples Peter, James and John. God’s voice spoke to them saying, “This is my dearly loved Son, the constant focus of my delight. LISTEN to Him!’
God didn’t say ‘ask of him, tell him, complain to him, be afraid of him’.
He said, ‘LISTEN to him’
Listening to God is like listening to a friend. You cannot hear the other person when you are talking or distracted. If you want to hear Him, you must be quiet, offering your fullest attention to what He is saying.
Listening to God requires a deliberate choice to shut out the chaos around you so that you can focus your thoughts. As I write this now I am in a bustling coffee shop. My ear buds are in, with the attempt to drown out the music and voices around me. It’s working…sort of.
Listening to God has the power to transform our lives! In a distracted and chaotic world, how can we listen more attentively?
In the Old Testament God spoke to a boy named Samuel. Samuel did not recognize God’s voice simply because His word hadn’t been revealed to him yet. When he discovered it must be God speaking to him, his response became, “Speak Lord, your Servant is listening”
Samuel gave God his full attention, ready and willing to serve where he was called. With such obedience, God continued to reveal himself through his word.
read. know. pray.
Reading, knowing, and praying God’s Word is a key starting point to listening. His hope and guidance for us is written all throughout scripture. Starting each day in His word fuels us with His love and compassion, his grace and mercy.
We can respond to life’s struggles with the hope and trust we’ve been given when his love becomes the overflow of our heart. I have found there is simply no greater way to live!
If this is new to you, download the YouVersion Bible App to get a verse of the day or reading plans that pertain to areas of your life that you’re struggling in. There are numerous plans on fear, anxiety, depression, marriage, finances, temptation, and so much more!
Listening to worship music is another way we can hear from God. These songs speak of surrender, trust, love and belonging. They echo words of praise and healing aligning our heart on the right path.
Phenomenal Christian Artists include Hillsong United, Red Rocks Worship, Elevation Worship, Lauren Daigle, and more. When I’m really struggling emotionally I will set a song on repeat and let it become the meditation of my heart for an hour or more. Virtually every time it transforms whatever fear or frustration I’m experiencing into peace.
Prayer is always one of the best ways we can hear from God.
Prayer can be a way we surrender in stillness and ask God to speak to us. It can be done through journaling or talking out loud like we’re having a conversation with someone sitting across from us.
As I seek to listen to God I often ask, “God show me the people who need to experience your love today. God show me how to be a little more graceful and patient as a mom. God show me the areas I need to trust you more. God help me to respond in a way that reflects your love rather than my fear or judgment.”
Seeking wise counsel is another way we hear from God. God will use people in your life to show you the way in which you shall go.
I recall years ago not knowing what decision to make about a business. As I shared the things that had been going on within me over the past year, my pastor very quickly said, “Kris its easy, God is calling you forth. This business was never intended to be what you were to do for the long haul, it was only to be a stepping stone.” In a time of desperate uncertainty, confusion and chaos her confirmation brought immediate peace.
Lastly, listening to God comes through being connected with fellow believers. One of things I appreciate so much about my church is that we highly encourage everyone to be a part of a Connect Group. This is a place where we get to know others and be known ourselves. I know this sounds scary. Maybe even terrifying. And yet it is invaluable to help us ‘work out’ some of the internal pains, struggles, hopes and dreams that are within us.
Our ability to listen comes as we draw nearer to God. As we do so, we can choose his way that leads to an abundant, blessed life.
In health and faith!
Kristine Rustand is a Master Health Coach with EmpowerWays. Everything she does is about empowering you to live a healthier, happier life. You can follow EmpowerWays on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to know how Health Coaching can help you live a healthier, happier life contact Kristine today. EmpowerWays@gmail.com