Have you noticed lately how much focus there is on listening? From every direction, we are encouraged to listen to this and listen to that. We’re told to suspend decision-making until we’ve listened to all points of view. We know that to become a better leader, we need to spend more time listening to our teams.
Stop listening to everything!
A few days ago, I was out taking a walk in the spring-like sunshine (which has now all but disappeared, even though the calendar says it’s officially spring…). A cacophony of sounds swirled around me. My focus was turned inward, and I was barely aware of my surroundings. After several moments, I suddenly realized that I didn’t want to spend my entire walk listening to myself, so I deliberately began listening for what was going on around me.
I quickly counted three different types of songs being sung across the treetops by cheery birds. There was a distant banging as a construction crew worked on a new home. A critter rustled in the pine straw nearby. Traffic whooshed next to me regularly.
I want to become a better listener. I’ve become satisfied with the idea that listening to someone or something is enough. I pat myself on the back and go on my merry way.
I think there’s more.
What if instead of listening to we begin to listen for?
…what my child is saying behind his words.
…the application I can draw from someone’s presentation at work.
…clues that will reveal the why behind the what.
…pebbles of raw transparency woven into the “big fish” stories.
…whatever next step God is prompting me to take.
…the beauty of the everyday.
Listening to something is too passive. We listen to the voices in the background of our lives flippantly, not allowing them to change us. Let’s start listening for wisdom, and understanding, and the truth that may be waiting to set us free.