To Listen

This morning at graceway, Brian talked a lot about listening.
Specifically listening to God, hearing him and acting upon it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about it this weekend, 
since he shared his thoughts with me a few days ago.
Today I found the chinese symbol for “to listen”.  
I think it’s fantastic.
The left side of the symbol represents and ear.
The right side represents the individual.
One explanation of this symbol said that in order to listen,
we must use our eyes, our ears and our open heart,
together with our undivided attention.
Another explanation said that to listen,
we must use both ears, watch and maintain eye contact,
give undivided attention and finally be empathetic.
This is the idea of engaging in active listening.
Of course, as a mom of two young children,
I immediately relate this to my preschooler.
Those of you who have kids, I am sure can relate as well.
Getting him to listen to me, I mean actually listen to what I am saying, 
processing it and responding – whew!
Not easy.
And that just involves the ears.
To think about him actually making eye contact with me,
fully hearing me and having it resonate in his heart and head…
well, he has some time to master all that.
After all, he is only 4.  He’s still learning.
But let me turn the tables a bit.
Am I good at this “active listening”?
Sometimes, yes.
When my husband and I are one on one,
or when I am talking to a friend, or a group of friends, yes.
When I am on the phone, it’s easy to listen, but also be doing other things.
Even when my son is trying to tell me something, 
it’s so easy not to practice what I want him to do when I am talking.
I am turning 40 this week, and well,
I guess I haven’t mastered it yet either.  I am still learning too.
And then where does all this fit in with my listening to Jesus?
Well, I am really good at talking to him! đŸ˜‰
I talk to him a lot throughout my day.
Am I very good at actively listening to him?
When do I use both ears, my eyes, my heart and my full attention?
I wonder if he gets as frustrated with me as I do with my son some days?
I am sure he does.  Probably more sad that I am missing what he wants me to hear.
But frustrated too.
 How thankful I am for his love and grace.
Humbles me a bit as I realize how much more I need to share the same with my kids.
And convicts my heart of just how much I NEED to make time in my day to listen,
to turn my ears, my eyes, my heart and my undivided attention 
to Jesus in prayer and scripture.
For when I seek him he promises to be found.
And as much as I desire to find him daily,
he desires it even more.
Dearest Jesus,
how easily I fill my days with stuff.
Some of it is necessity, but so much of it is not.
I don’t put you first often enough.
May I find the discipline to stop and listen.
to hear you and to respond.
And may the same love and grace you bestow onto me,
be my daily practice with my own children.

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