When I was growing up, I had a 2nd family with whom I was really close & I noticed after some time, that the husband / dad had some hearing difficulties. When I started to watch him more closely, I noticed that he could overhear “quiet” conversations in the next room, but would be oblivious to some conversations within his immediate hearing. I thought this was really strange until someone pointed out that he had a hearing condition called “wife deafness.” I had never heard of this condition & they explained to me that sometimes husbands or wives develop this impairment after several years of marriage – I got it, it was a joke, kind of ,)
While it was kind of funny to learn some of the quirky dynamics of my 2nd family, there’s some really good application that I use with this observation on a regular basis: there are some voices & conversations that don’t need my attention nor do they help me to grow closer to God. So some selective hearing is a good thing – like Jesus said in John 10, “My sheep know my voice & the voice of a stranger they won’t follow.” 😀
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 🙂