Sunday, April 15, 2012

LISTEN

~Please Give This Song a Listen~


STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW! PAUSE, BE STILL AND LISTEN. 

For those of us in the West, that is a difficult task. Listening has become a lost art in our culture. We are constantly bombarded by noise and distractions. We have radios, TV's, the Internet, cell phones, email, texts and relationships. The closest we often come to listening to someone is when they are talking, and we are thinking of what we are going to say. We are so consumed by what is happening around us that we often miss what is going on around us. Their is an old adage, "God gave you two ears and one mouth - use them proportionally"

Back during the days of the Marriage Enrichment Seminars, they would have couples write out their feelings to each other. The reason behind this exercise was to allow a person to completely express their feelings without interruption. As you would read what was being said to you, in a separate room, you were not allowed to stop and get defensive, argue or roll your eyes. It was a method of getting people to listen to what the other person was trying to communicate with you. Many people came away from this experience, even after decades of marriage, saying, "I had no idea you felt that way".

My guess is that if we could stop and listen, we would realize how much we are missing. Those who know me, know I am actually an introvert. When I am in front of a crowd I am animated and very extroverted, yet I am a very solitary person. In groups I will often sit back, listen and watch. Coming from such an abusive family, I learned very early how to read emotions in people. Those who survived those environments picked that skill up early in life. I have come to realize that, for the most part, people are more concerned with talking and getting their point across than hearing what another person has to say. This is destroying marriages, relationships with parents and children, relationships in general, work conditions and even countries. We just don't listen anymore!

It also affects us as individuals. We have so much going on that we are often stressed out of our minds. As I said earlier, we are bombarded. There is no "off" switch to stop the noise. When people are talking with us, we have trouble staying focused. Our minds are filled with politics, taxes, house payments, wars and rumors of wars. The video above was put together for the people of Haiti that was devastated by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded. We heard the headline, but it was drowned out by the hundreds or thousands of other things bombarding our minds. In the midst of all of this clutter, we may have missed our spouse trying to express the pain they are feeling. We may have missed a child saying they wished you could be around more. Maybe we missed the still quiet voice of God asking us to slow down.  

I know that suggesting another thing be added to your schedule is insane. I would suggest that you try at least one or two of the following:
  1. Set aside a few minutes each day for quiet.
  2. When talking with another person, actually listen to what they are saying. Don't be thinking of what your are going to say back to them.
  3. Take a step back from Social Media. No one cares if you post "like" to a comment.
  4. If you have kids, listen to them. Ask them how they are feeling.
  5. Try an not get sucked into our consumer driven society - be thankful for what you already have.
  6. Actually spend time talking and listening to that significant person in your life.
  7. You don't have to be an authority on every current event happening on the planet.
  8. Spend some time listening to God.
Maybe this is the best advice:

"Be still and know that I am God..."
(Psalm 46:10)

Or you can this route:
Peace
~Al