Presently, I’m sitting in Starbucks & just thinking about the importance of what we hear. Currently, the store is playing some nice music, there are some gentlemen discussing a business negotiation, some moms are enjoying a coffee & chat while the barista shouts out the latest drink order. There are alot of things for my ears to absorb. Its the same in your life – lots of noises and voices vying for your attention: your phone, kids, spouse, bills, job, deadlines, . . . . . It is our challenge to manage all these voices & remain productive & faithful to God’s purposes & designs for each of us.
Here are some suggestions:
- be selective with your attention: in Starbucks there are lots of voices, noises and things to compete for my attention, but I’ve put on my earphones because I want to control what I listen to – not everything deserves your attention.
- think about your expectations: do you listen with underlying motives or judgments? If we’re not careful, we can quickly sever conversations and even relationships when we don’t hear what we want. Don’t take everything as rejection & be careful not to allow your insecurity to distort what someone may be trying to communicate.
- Prioritize what you hear: the most important thing you should hear or be mindful to listen to is Jesus. In Mark 4:23, He says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” I pray that for each of us, He would help us to hear Him everyday through His Word, His actions and even His voice to us. There is no voice more important than Jesus’ voice
- listen to help: if we’re not careful, we fall into the trap of only listening to what we enjoy or want to hear. Sometimes the best way to use your attention is to lend a listening ear. My friend Jim wisely told me that its more important to be interested than interesting. With that in mind, pls take a quick moment to look at this video: http://www.vimeo.com/20154183
Listening – what a gift 🙂
We can give life in lots of different ways. Here are some thoughts & practical ideas to integrate into our daily living.
First, in a few weeks, I get to travel to India with @savingmoses. I have it in my heart to create a facility where we can provide night care to the infants & toddlers of prostitutes of the sex workers. Presently, infants & toddlers of the these workers many times are chained to the same bed during the time when their mother is working. My goal is help these infants & toddlers develop a world view that doesn’t so overtly include prostitution as a means of earning a living. I believe this is a very SIGNIFICANT way to give life to someone at the beginning of their life. Of course I will be blogging about our trip everyday & keeping you posted on our progress on facebook, twitter, etc.
Second, we can give life to the people in our lives by our words. Positive, uplifting, encouraging, vision casting words are absolutely vital not only in our lives, but also in the lives of the people around us. The closer the relationship, the more opportunity that we can speak life into the person we love. When you notice positive things about a person, tell them!! When someone is having a rough day, remember something good about them & tell them!! If a person tends to have a negative outlook, counter-act the negativity with some constructive optimism. I seriously appreciate that we need to NOT live in denial, but on the way to positive results in our lives, we need positive inputs. Maybe its even a good day to post a nice & sincere comment about someone on their FB wall 🙂
A final idea about how to give life is with our time and activity. If we’re not careful, we can easily get caught in the selfish trap & fritter away our time & energy on selfish & even meaningless activities. Let’s look for opportunities to improve someone else’s life by volunteering, getting involved in a local charity, church or relief agency.
Let’s give life, since we are made in the image of the original Life Giver 🙂
Ok, revelation time: when I was growing up (and sadly enough in some recent history), I had some very “sassy” moments, to put it mildly. Unfortunately, I remember some EXTREMELY bad moments when I’ve been very disrespectful. With a little bit of maturity now (with lots of room to continue growing), I look back on those moments with regret and embarrassment. I’ve even had an extremely successful pastor gently remind me of a very arrogant conversation I had with him when I was a teenager. Thankfully, he was very gracious and understanding when he reminded me of this conversation, but I was nevertheless very embarrassed by my words and behavior.
Bringing these memories into my present behavior, I’ve come to the conclusion that respect is never out of bounds and disrespect is always out of bounds. In my generation, we have often made the mistake of presupposing a person had to “earn” our respect before we would give it. I’ve often noticed now that if I will treat people with respect, whether they deserve it or not, they usually behave in a respectful way. For those individuals who remain disrespectful even when I treat them with honor, I figure that their behavior is their responsibility and not mine. At the end of the day, I want to make sure that I’m honoring God. So if I can treat my fellow human with honor, it’s creating a lifestyle of honor to please my heavenly Father.
I have never regretted treating someone with respect, but I’m always disappointed in myself when I am disrespectful. Honor begets honor – Prov 3:35 🙂