One season of your life you can be totally in the dark about a particular truth, but as life progresses, some people come into your life and others leave, or circumstances change, it’s as if the curtain lifts, and something that wasn’t even on your radar suddenly becomes as clear as day. You have learned something new; and whether that truth is uncomfortable, painful, or beautiful, it is always powerful in that, if you allow it, it can bring you a change of heart, mind, and/or behavior.
Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t reach the end of our lives with the same amount of knowledge, capabilities, and understanding as we had when we exited our mothers’ wombs? Yet, for many of us, there comes a point in our lives when we think we know all we need to know about life, love, relationships, reality. We think we have a good grip on all of it, and we are set for life. We have it covered, we think, and that there is no new knowledge to be gained, or habit to be changed or picked up. Our mindset is: ‘This is what I think, and this is how I do things.’
In that place it is so easy to not listen to others and to not allow them to influence or even change the way we think about anything that is the dynamic ebb and flow of life. It is very easy to NOT LISTEN.
Listening to others, to life, to circumstances, to change, takes humility. It’s the opposite of being argumentative and opinionated. Listening is uncomfortable because it means we have to shut up and let others speak, let life speak, and actually hear them. Listening means that our opinions are not as important we think they are, as we would like them to be.
In listening, we learn. Oh my friends, Paul says in the letter to the Romans, Let no man think more highly of himself than he should; but we do that all the time. Instead of setting our minds and hearts to learning the things about life we don’t know, we become set in our ways. We stop listening to others and refuse to let our circumstances to teach us the new things that we couldn’t see before.
David understood the principle that we cannot recognize what we don’t know, and so he prayed, Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me... David knew that in some areas of his life the curtain hadn’t yet lifted, and that he was in the dark about some things. Asking God to search him took real humility. I don’t think he asked God that expecting Him to respond, ‘You don’t need to change anything about your life, David.’ But some of us would expect that very answer from God were we to pray the same thing. Or, we don’t pray that prayer out of fear that He might ask us to change a whole lot of things.
Truth: there is such freedom when we are not holding on for dear life to our opinions and our ways of doing things. Jesus’ brother, James, tells us, ‘be slow to speak and quick to listen’, which is the opposite of how we tend to be. We value our opinions more than we value people; we treasure our ways more than we treasure new knowledge, and even truth.
How can you listen more today? It takes practice. If you were to start small, who would you choose to hear out? What difficult thing are you going through that you have hardened your heart and your stance in so that you can’t hear the lesson that is there for you to learn? In what area of your life will you allow the curtain to be lifted so that clarity and understanding can be let in?
Or, are you too set in your ways to even try?
©Debbie Mendoza, July 2018.
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