Becoming A Better Listener

My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart.
Proverbs 4:20-21

Hearing refers to the sounds that enter your ears. It is a physical process that, provided you do not have any hearing problems, happens automatically. Listening, however, requires more than that: it requires focus and concentrated effort, both mental and sometimes physical as well.

Listening means paying attention not only to the story, but also the manner in which it is told, the use of language and voice, and the body language of the person you are talking to. In other words, it means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages. Your ability to listen effectively depends on the degree to which you perceive and understand these messages.

Listening is not a passive process. In fact, the listener can and should be at least as engaged in the process as the speaker. The phrase ‘active listening’ is used to describe this process of being fully involved. How have you learnt to listen better? Or are you still learning to be that “better listener”?

Although I have tried to be a listener, I have repeatedly ignored things that I should’ve listened to. It started with my parents who wanted me to hear things that I’d rather not hear. Things about obedience and living according to what God says. In my marriage I have often tried to be a listener, but many times it went in one ear and out the other. My wife has tried to give me good feedback, but I usually wasn’t ready to receive it. So I heard but didn’t listen, which meant I did not put it into practice.

This is a new season for me as I try to learn to listen more to others, especially to what my wife wants me to know. But most important of all, I am learning to listen to what my Heavenly Father is teaching me. I am also getting better at receiving the words I am listening to. It is my hope that you will also want to become a better listener!

End of article.

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