God, listen to me shout,
bend an ear to my prayer.
You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.
from Psalm 61 (The Message)
Just as we know God will hear us, especially when we feel desperate for a listening ear, we too can be the listening “port in the storm” when someone needs to be heard.
Listening is not the same as “hearing.” Listening requires focus and concentrated effort – paying attention not only to the story or the words, but how it is told, the use of language and voice and all the non-verbal messages. Listening is not passive – one needs to be as engaged in the process as the person talking.
One of the most significant ways we can connect with another person is to just listen. So often we are only paying attention to our own thoughts and when someone begins to speak to us, we may hear the words but miss the real meaning because we quickly move to respond based on OUR thoughts! So, for today – and hopefully for most days – practice the art of listening. Clear your mind of judgments or interpreting the words from your own perspective – try to listen, not just hear the spoken words.
As we learn to listen to others, we might also learn to listen to our own words and gain insight into our thoughts and actions.
by Barbara Drake
Photo Credit: Paws 2 Read program, Reno. The Paws 2 Read program gives beginning readers the opportunity to read aloud to a non-judgmental, loving dog. A recent study with third graders reading out loud to dogs for 10 minutes, once a week, showed those students improved their reading fluency by 12 to 46 percent, 1-2 grade levels. In other words, being listened to helps children build confidence and develop a desire to read!
As you go about your day, keep your eyes open.
What does it mean to you to “Listen”?
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