May 27, 2013

Are you distracted? LISTEN.

“Huh?” “What?” “Pardon?” How many of you have heard these words (stereotypically, from your teenagers – sorry youth!) If I can continue the stereotype, the person addressed slowly pulls out one ear bud, and with a look of annoyance, repeats again, “What?”

The illustration of tuning out everything around us by putting ear phones into our ears is actually quite applicable to all of us, regardless of age. I think we all have so much “noise” that bombards us that we often simply look for ways of ignoring it. We jump when our phone vibrates and quickly respond to the incoming text message. We carry on multiple conversations at one time. We spend hours reading news from a hundred different perspectives. We receive invitations to twenty great events, all on the same weekend.

It seems to me that we live in a noisy society. And where there is noise, it becomes difficult to understand clearly, or to listen well. What we might all benefit from is a noise filter. But I’m not talking about one of those machines that produces “white noise” in the background. I’m really talking about taking a break in order to truly listen.

What might help us truly listen, in particular to what God’s Spirit is nudging in our hearts? Here are few ideas…please add some more.

  • Pray “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” and then sit quietly for several minutes.
  • Build a habit of reading scripture in a quiet place, and including listening time into your devotions.
  • Take a fast from TV, computers, social media, etc.
  • Next time you go for a walk, find a place to sit quietly for 30 minutes.

Listening is hard work. Take the time to develop your skills. Share you victories and your challenges? Try one of the above suggestions and share what you discovered. What will you hear when you truly listen?

Leonard Klassen

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