Wednesday February 24th, 2016
Women Connect ~ short weekly post to inspire and encourage.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20 NIV
Shame I don’t do it more often.
These verses, like all of the book of James contain such practical, level headed advice on doing life, loving God and putting our faith into action.
But you know what – listening doesn’t look like action – not how we like our action.
But it works big things.
“Much good happens in the space where nothing is happening” Christa Wells, Singer/Songwriter
James urges us – be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to wrath.
How much better would we be if we did that more often. We’d save ourselves a whole mess of trouble. How much back tracking and apologising and digging ourselves out of sticky situations would we save ourselves. How many tears, how much worry?
Notice how the listening comes first. Something has to slow us down and get our head straight.
Listen first – before anything else. Before shooting our mouth off or promising the world, before acting on offense or setting someone straight, before trying to fix things or laying blame, before having a dig or putting our twenty cents worth in.
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But (she) who restrains (her) lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19
Now us ladies are relational and we like our words. We know they are powerful, that they can give life and mend hearts and make family of each other. We know to use them for good, to bless and encourage and build – good words are like gold but shutting us up when we’ve got a bone to pick or an axe to grind is no easy task. Oh its so easy to go there. And listening is the last thing we want to do when that nerves been hit or that line crossed. Its the very last thing we feel like doing when it’s blatantly unfair or we’ve just had enough.
But listen – to reason, good counsel, to all the facts, to the other side of the story, to the inner voice of our heart and above all let’s listen to God.
That listening might happen on the spot or overnight or over the course of days and weeks. Sometimes we think we have to be heard straight away, that we have to make our point and say our peace and get out bit in. Mmmm – not really, not always, it won’t make us more right and them more wrong and what you or I say won’t change the facts. It doesn’t make us more of less of a person if we don’t get it all out there in one go. Like in writing sometimes what you don’t write says as much as what you do write. The truth will always wait a day, our opinion will most definitely wait a day. Truth will always come out and if it needs to be said there will be an opportunity. Not for the purposes of hurt or self defense or solving the worlds problems but to bring light, to bring good, to bring healing. Timing is everything. God’s timing is perfect.
Listening comes first. An art in itself.
I know from personal experience – we all do – that listening is hard when we’ve been hurt. Words and anger and self defense is often our first port of call – and well theres a place for that, a very trusted friend, a sound proof room! – where we can fall apart before we pull ourself back together. When we hurt somehow we want to hurt back but what we really want is to feel safe and loved and cared for. What we want is to matter.
That’s when we need to receive not lash out – sit at His table and be loved.
‘If God is speaking, then nothing else matters but listening” Brennan Manning
Listening means yes we have to close our mouths for a bit, lay our defences and arguments aside and be willing simply to receive. Truth, wisdom, a different way of doing things. It takes a willingness to hear. It takes trust.
Trusting that if God is for us than nothing, not anything can really be against us (Romans 8:31). Trusting that His Father heart is inclined toward us everyday and with every heart beat.
Trusting that “we are held, held up and held together, by the One who has walked here and knows the pain, and who also holds all of time, every story, my story, your story, the Greatest Story in his hands. Christa Wells
Trusting that God’s ways of doing things are ultimately and completely good. That His ways work righteousness that bring us life and move us forward and – – – – our ways of sorting things out, well they make a mess and get us stuck.
That’s a lot of trust – – – He’s good for it.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Matthew 11:15
Listening put’s things in perspective.
Listening brings clarity.
Listening makes room for God. To keep us and love us and pour out that oil – to shape us from the inside out. To change how we move into and respond to this world. For better, not worse.
That in itself speaks volumes. It says more than all our words put together.
“Assurance grows by repeated conflict, – – – when we have been brought very low and helped, sorely wounded and healed, cast down and raised again, have given up all hope, and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over, we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God – – – “ John Newton
Love to you all today
Got a minute?
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3 thoughts on “On Listening”
Tracey your words on listening– like a balm to my hurting soul… This is what I have been praying all week after a fight with the husband…Lord how do I listen better? After feeling like I just need to get my point, MY feelings, My whatever across to him—- God keeps nudging me to shush! So I’ve been praying that he would show me how to listen… Oh how I wish I had seen your post on the day it was written, but Sunday morning was blessing enough. Been ruminating on it all yesterday. I’m encouraged by the John Newton quote– “assurance grows by repeated conflict…” (after having the same fights my whole life, I think I am finally ready to grow in my trust of God and just commit everything to him minute by minute.) Listening is in deed so hard when all the inner voices are screaming to be heard by whoever or what ever has come against us and you hit the nail on the head when you said we just want to matter– to be safe, loved and cared for. BUT what is becoming ever apparent to me is that Jesus is the ONLY one who can truly validate and vindicate us. I’m increasingly invited to take all things to him in prayer. Thank you for such a timely post with such a good word for me to LISTEN to! You’re an angel girl ♥ It’s as if you were listening in on my prayers ♥
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Heather – it’s one I’m learning the hard way too – I don’t think listening first comes easy to any of us when we are hurt or feel wronged or what ever it is. Sounds like you’ve had a bit of a week – the fights with the husband oh I can relate to those – horrible but they have a way of sending us to God though don’t they. And knowing He has our hearts and our tears and every part of our lives right there in His hands means everything at those times. Thank God He has us writing things down so we can encourage and build each other up from across miles and hemispheres and thanks for sharing your heart here my friend x
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YES- straight to God is FINALLY where I am learning to go… I’m a bit stubborn! Love how He put our paths together : ) Thanks for sharing your heart as well! ♥
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