When you open yourself up to Father to show you where you need work, there comes an opportunity for growth through testing! In this case, a test in the active practice of listening! Here is how it came to me:
Nate, my son, is a verbal processor, and he called me to talk about some things that he had been thinking about. He has a wonderful, Godly wife that is wise and fully invested in ministry with him. I thought that it would be a short conversation...an hour and a half later we said our good-bye’s! I love that he still wants to share with me from time to time!
During the beginning of our conversation, I found myself wanting to speak to everything he was sharing! The Holy Spirit gently reminded me about my 2019 resolution to be a better listener, so I put my fingertips over my lips and worked very hard at not just hearing, but listening intently to his words and tone of voice. As difficult as it was, I stopped trying to think of what I wanted to say, and let him finish his thought process. Sometimes, he is interested in my responses, other times he just needs to be heard or to hear himself think out loud. I totally understand that because I do the same thing!
As I reflect on it now, in listening to him, we both were given the gift of time! He was validated in knowing that he was worth listening to, and I was validated in knowing that he trusted me! When our conversation was coming to a close, we exchanged thoughts and responses that not only showed interest in each other’s lives but assigned value and respect to each other. Even in different thought processes and perceptions, there was incredible value and considerations to be pondered. There was no animosity towards each other for differing opinions. How that has been lost in our culture today!! You see he knows, and I know that no matter the issues or differences in our lives we both want the best possible outcome for each other. Neither of us wishes or desires any harm to the other. He will pray for and encourage me and I will pray for and encourage him as we navigate options, obstacles, and solutions.
God’s word says in Song of Solomon 8:13
“O you who sit in the gardens, My companions are listening for your voice - let Me hear it.”
In the Hebrew: Yashab gan chaber qashab qowl shama
You who remain in the garden, my brothers/associates are pricking up their ears for you to call aloud or utter anything - that they may obey, give heed, and understand things heard.
It is pleasing to God when His children are attentive to Him and live in community together because we are companions of His Son! When we share with Christ and each other our dreams, burdens, needs, challenges, failures and successes we are able to advise, edify, encourage, and respect one another - it is a testimony to the grace and love we have been given and entrusted to share! What a blessed provision in our covenant relationship with Him!
I wonder if I had chosen to stop intentionally listening to Nate, or chose to speak instead, how the conversation would have gone. I am pretty sure it would have been shorter in the length of time and in the tone of it as well!
!Oh, the things that we can learn about our Father and each other when we listen with our heart!