We tend to think that listening techniques will help us to become better listeners. But quite honestly, the art of listening comes from within. Our ability to listen is more connected to our hearts than perfecting any skills.
To become a better listener, we must examine our hearts.
The wise Solomon warns “Above all else, guard your hearts, for everything you do flows from it.” The way we relate, our words and our ability to listen flow from our hearts. The question is, “What is going on in our hearts while we are listening?
When our hearts are honoring God and our eyes are fixed on Him, we can speak and listen at our very best. But, too often, our eyes divert from God and focus in on ourselves. We get caught up in a need for approval, desire for control, urge to dominate, or maybe even a longing for escape.
True listening is God-focused and selfless.
Who comes to mind when you think of someone who is a good listener? Where is her attention? I imagine that her attention is on YOU and not herself. She wants to know about your life, your heart, your successes, and your concerns. She hardly interjects herself into the conversation.
If you have trouble listening… if you find yourself talking too much, interrupting, trying to say something smart, cutting someone off in order to get some peace and quiet, or directing the conversation, then it might be time to do a little self-reflection.
When you recognize what is going on in your heart, and if you find that it is not honoring to God, then confess it as sin. Thank Jesus for His saving grace. Refocus your attention back on Him and the one whom you are listening to.
Now that we have addressed matters of the heart, we can talk about listening techniques. If our hearts are right, then improving our listening skills is a selfless act.
I will address techniques in my next blog…