|Posted on May 18, 2015 at 6:15 PM|
How are your listening skills? Do you find yourself in the same situation and circumstance over and over? For those who are married, are you constantly arguing about the same issue? If you answered yes, then you are not listening! Even if you believe to be right, you are not listening.
We all have disagreements at times, but I’m referring to the constant level of chaos and mental frustration in your life. I challenge you to do the following for the next week and see if you don’t notice a difference in the level of peace in your life.
The consequences of being a poor listener vary from little significance to destruction. An example of not listening that has a small impact would be to not listen regarding your choice of shoes or shorts to a casual weekend event. No one really cares about your choice of clothing because the focus will be on the event itself. On the contrary, exercising poor listening skills during an important discussion with your professor, concerning your final grade may result in you maintaining the grade that current grade versus the one you were petitioning for.
Part of learning to listen includes discerning when your full attention is required. It is important to note that your full attention is NOT ONLY needed when the benefits are in your favor. Listening from that perspective only is selfish. It is a good thing to make sure your affairs are in order, but it is a greater thing to consider the needs of others and that can only be accomplished if you are an effective listener. The following are three ways in which you should know how to listen:
1. With your mind
2. With your heart
3. With spiritual understanding
Let’s clarify how you effectively listen in these three ways using the husband and wife as our model. First, when you listen with your mind, your aim is to understand the logical component of what the situation calls for. I abhor using the term “guilty”, but we (men) are guilty for utilizing this method far too often. We are naturally created to be logical in our thinking, so I do understand that; however, we are not to be one dimensional in our approach to life – especially concerning our wives and family. We are to be as flexible as the Lord needs us to be for any given situation. Thinking with our mind all the time prohibits us from appreciating the matter for everything that it includes. Men, when we deal with our wives, it cannot be all LOGIC because our wives are coming from an EMOTIONAL position. Emotion and logic do not mix all the time because logic is cut and dry. Emotion is involved, understanding, and considerate. Learning to listen with your mind is important, but one dimensional in relating with your spouse. Our wives need us to listen with our hearts, in addition to listening with our mind.
Secondly, listening with your heart enables you to feel or empathize with the emotions of your spouse. When your spouse is having trouble with their boss or having trouble with a co-worker, or anyone, listening with your mind helps you to start the process of understanding the situation. You must move to listening with your heart, so that you can appreciate how this issue is impacting the person. It is from here that you can begin to decipher what some of the underlying issues may be. It also allows you to see where the individual is in their understanding of their current circumstance. Listening with your heart is a key listening skill that you must understand WHEN to implement. If you listen only with you heart, you could miss out on the logical reasoning that come with listening with your mind.
Lastly, the third way to effectively listen is to listen with spiritual understanding. What does that mean? Listening with a spiritual understanding means that you capture all of the logic and emotion of a situation and you submit that through the filter of God’s word. What does God say about the circumstance? How can we find the sovereignty of God’s grace and mercy in the situation? Listening with the intent of hearing the heart of God is the most effective method of listening because it allows you to respond in a manner that is consistent with the character of God. After all, according to Genesis 1:26, we were created in his image.
In a world where so many things are clamoring for our attention, learning to listen is an invaluable skill that we need to develop, if our desire is to be effective workers for God’s kingdom. Make it your personal objective to become a better listener. Improving your listening skills will improve your communication skills.