October 22, 2012

Sharpening Your Listening Ear

Last week, I shared how being a good listener is another form of ministry. And that developing a listening ear might take as much effort as any other ministry, such as public speaking skills, hospitality, etc...

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. - Colossians 3:16

Having a keen listening ear is a struggle for me even though I have had the wonderful gift of these types of women in my life at different times. It is a blessing to be in relationship with them. To know that you can just share your heart openly is freeing and fosters wonderful mentoring opportunities. Many times, just hearing myself talk about a problem was enough for God to speak to me about what I needed to do. I was hashing it out in my mind while sharing it with another woman. Does that make sense? The women who played these roles in my life have fantastic listening ears; we grew together in ways that led them, at the proper time, to minister into my life: Times when my heart was open for some rich sowing.

Interestingly, (or more accurately, "divinely") I am studying the book of James by Beth Moore while posting this blog and we have come to the section in James where he talks about be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

"The only way we're apt to develop the art of listening is to become rabidly intentional." - Beth Moore

In the electronic world in which we live, where our response to somebody across the ocean can literally be instant, the only way we are going to become listeners is by "rabid intent." This isn't a skill that's going to come naturally or automatically. This is a developed, practice.

Finding a wise woman may be difficult, however becoming a good listener maybe more so! Firstly, you must show yourself trustworthyopenhonest, and humble. Are you approachable? Available? Are you a woman another--probably younger--woman would want to open up to? It's easy to jump in with easy solutions to problems or issues. It's not so easy to just listen and pray. Stop and ask God for the right words to say, if any at all. Silence, and allowing her to speak, might be the most powerful ministry you could give. You must have discernment to know whether or not this woman wants feedback, or just wants a listening ear.

By God's grace, He will empower us to harness our own words - stop and direct them toward Him in prayer.

1 comment:

  1. Don't you love that James study? It changed the way I see the man James. I've been working on memorizing James this year and every Tuesday I post a scripture memory card. It's going pretty good and there are so many gems in this book. Being slow to speak and quick to listen is one of those!