day twenty five: be a listener

Slide1This morning my roommate was talking about how she wants to do things with her grandparents. She likes to get out and go on adventures, rather than just sit around. She feels like it’s a better way to build relationships. In response, I was telling her how valuable it is to just sit and be with someone. And I sounded like I really knew what I was talking about, because, well, I’ve been writing about the topic of “being” for almost a month.

Then this afternoon I realize how bad I am at simply sitting. I get bored easily. I also like to get out and do things. I like conversation, but I have a hard time listening. Rarely do I just like to sit and be right where I am. I started thinking about how bad our culture is at just sitting. We are told that we always need to be running from activity to activity. We need to keep ourselves busy. We need to fill the awkward silences. We need to fight the time.

But time is not mine. I often refer to “my day” or “my time,” when really it is is “God’s day” and “God’s time.” He is the creator of it, I just decide how I’m going to use the time He has given me.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, NIV)

It is our decision whether we are going to take the opportunities that God gives us–opportunities to love the people who God places in our paths. When I sit and talk with someone, I’m not wasting my time. I’m using God’s time. The same is true when I take the time to help a friend with homework, clean someone’s dishes in the kitchen, or go to a friend’s performance. I’m not wasting time that I could have spent doing schoolwork or cleaning my own dishes. Instead, I am choosing to focus on what really matters: loving people.

IMG_2339 - Version 2As a society, we are so bad at listening. Last night, the IV women had a Q&A session with counselor, speaker, and author, Nicole Unice. One of the young women asked how she can intentionally encourage the other girls on her hall. Nicole replied that our culture is just not interested in getting to know people deeper. The biggest way we can encourage people is to show them that we care. She gave four steps.

1) Be present: do it in person and be all there

2) Seek to understand: be fully engaged and actively listen

3) Care about their lives: pray that God would allow you to like people enough to actually care about who they are and what is going on in their lives

4) Ask a good question: try to go deeper in relationship by asking a question that shows you understand and care

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19, NIV).

We are finite creatures. God has given us a certain amount of time on this Earth. (We won’t last forever.) He has called us to a specific time and place. Bloom right where you are.

So take the time to sit and listen. You will stand out as a Christian. Be okay with staying up until 2 in the morning talking. Be okay with simply sitting quietly while a friend vents her frustrations. You’re not wasting your time. It was never yours to begin with.

– – Phebe

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