learning to listen well

In our recent get away to the lovely northwest part of lower Michigan, my goal became to be attentive both to God and to my wife, Deb. To really listen, to learn to listen well.

Often in the past I would be doing much of the talking. (I still did my share of it, I imagine.) And one who has always loved music, I’d have music on. We still had plenty of music on (mostly wonderful classical and a bit of rock), along with some NPR.  But at a certain point I turned that off. Hearing the noise of the road and of the car (not used to this, due to the smaller car we now have) was a bit of a jolt, but my goal was to be largely silent and catch what my wife would say.

This is what I want my posture to be more and more the rest of my life.

Too often I listen to the wrong things. Something from who knows where, or the same voices I’ve heard over and over again since childhood. Some of it came from others who listened to similar voices and echoed them to themselves, to others, to me. Voices which came out of our weakness, out of lack of faith in God, etc. Troubling voices. Deterring voices.

So not only do I want to learn to listen better, but I want my listening to be focused. On the good shepherd, to hear his voice first. And then to hear the voices of others.

As much as I love seeing, hearing probably is most important to me, though either one gone would be a great loss. To hear the birds, the breeze in the trees, even the noise of society.

And yet I want to develop a deaf ear for voices I shouldn’t hear. Like the voice I heard at the age of ten which said I’d never amount to anything. Or voices which plague me with “What if…” in regard to the past, present or future. Voices which don’t agree with the voice of God we find in the words of scripture which comes from God’s final Word, Jesus, through the Spirit.

So that is what I want to do, and from where I want to live, through Jesus by the Spirit together with others in Jesus for the world.