Listening! Really Listening

Listening! How can I listen better? I have asked myself this question many times, as it relates to people but frequently as it relates to God. Listening to people, really listening, requires a focus on them and a quieting of the thoughts in our mind. I find that I need to set aside my response and truly listen so that I can hear what is being said, not just the words but the intent as well.

Listening to God is not much different. First of all I need to engage in a conversation. Early in our marriage, we determined to set aside a few minutes near the end of each day to ask each other how our day went. This time became very precious as we could hear joys and frustrations. However, it required a consistent setting aside of time and a place. Listening to God begins by committing to the same Ė set aside a time and a space.

Second, I need to know what I am going to talk about. As we began to share at the end of each day we knew we wanted to hear what had happened that day and how it was affecting us now. Listening to God requires a focused conversation. Godís Word to us is His beginning and part of the conversation that we are invited to participate in with God. I set aside 20 minutes every morning to read the Word. It is a time to ask God what He wants me to hear from Him as well getting an overall perspective of Godís actions in our world today.

Finally, I get to tell God about my day. Because I get up early I often tell Him about what is coming on this particular day. I will express concerns that have come to me particularly those that I canít seem to shake off. I donít necessarily ask Him to deal with them Ė in the same way that our spouse doesnít want us to ďfixĒ problems they share with us. I just express my concerns to God and ask Him to give me peace and then wisdom to see tough things through.

Can I encourage you to begin a practice of listening to God? It will reframe your life. I know because it has truly helped me to know Godís way and to walk in it.