[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]C[/mk_dropcaps]onnection with someone else does not come from speaking, it comes from active listening. Yesterday, I met with a woman to discuss a group that is starting up. It was the first time we have had a true conversation and I felt the Lord prompt me to simply listen as she spoke. Multiple times she tried to turn the conversation back to me as, I’m sure, she found it somewhat uncomfortable to talk about herself. She has lived out her life serving others. She has 4 children of her own, but also fostered 11 kids over the years. I am in awe of her passion for people and her generosity in giving of her time and resources for others. It became apparent to me in our discussion that she probably does not get to talk and truly be heard. How many of us feel like that? Do you feel as though your voice does not matter? As a result do you either diminish how much or water down what you do share? Personally, that has been characteristic of me throughout my adult life. I am, just now, coming out of that mindset into a new way of being.
With the incredible leaders I get to watch in my church and in my company I have noticed a trend with those who are of the most influence. It is not actually so much what they share, but that when face to face with someone they actively listen and genuinely care for the person in front of them. Their full attention is on that person.
True listening is not convenient and often takes far more time and energy than you may think. You are still participating in the conversation, and contributing periodically for clarification. You help the other person dig deeper into what they are sharing. It is strengthening on an emotional level both for them and you. When you get the opportunity to engage with someone else in conversation when you choose to actively listen it actually can help you shift your perspective on your own life. You are forced to tune out your own chatter and fully submerge into the life and desires of the life facing you.
Seeing how infrequently it occurs in social settings at large, it seems to be more of a lost art in this age of social media. We are all about sharing our own sound bite highlights of our lives instead of digging deeper in relationships. Conversations can seem more like rapid fire fragments of thought instead of the flow and easy of great conversation. With the fast pace of this social media age it is easy and in fact I believe reinforced to stay on the surface level.
One of the ways we bust out of a season of stagnation is to stop focusing so much on our own lives and challenges. This life is not about us after all, right? When you are around others and the moment presents yourself to fully engage in a conversation, slow down! Ask questions, really seek to gain full understanding of another’s concerns, challenges, or points of victory. In doing so it is a promise that as you give you shall receive. It is the principle of sowing and reaping.
As you seek breakthrough personally, perhaps it is less about doing more, but listening more. God will bring about the divine appointments you need to advance toward your dream. Practicing the habit of listening to others, you will find there is space to tune into the prompting of God in conversations. Fine tuning your capacity to hear His voice above all others is one that pulls you toward your destiny. One of the best places to do this is in developing deeper connections with others by listening. It isn’t something you have to push for in your own strength. That way it will not be in a way that you can claim it as your own. That is freeing! It is you + God. But it starts with you tuning into the needs of another. Who is in your life today that you have not stopped long enough to get in and really listen to?
Share your story here of how someone listening to you or you listening to another has brought a fresh perspective to your life.