Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Why Listening?

Yesterday, I seriously considered giving up on this 31 day thing. Already. Because Caden got sent home from school with a fever, and then we had football practice, and fed 8 teenage boys, and put 2 cranky kiddos to bed, and then I wasn't feeling well, and I thought: this is all too much. 

But it turns out that listening continues as one of those themes in my life right now that the Lord wont let me let go of. Does that make sense? For me, listening feels both specific and persistent, and yet still-loose-enough to write about for 31 days (or probably not every single day if we are being honest. Just keeping it real with you up front)
So for now, because I'm tired and trying hard not to give up from the get-go, a few reasons I'm writing about listening this month:

* I need to do a better job of listening to my children. Knowing them, engaging with them, being patient and present with them. And all of that means LISTENING to them. Which, in fact, is really hard for me. I just have so many things to do and places to be and people coming in and out and LIFE happening, that sometimes I neglect to really HEAR my children. 

* While we were at CCDA last month, one theme that resounded with me again and again (from many different speakers and workshops and classes) was the idea of listening to the folks in our neighborhood. Listening to the teachers and parents and kiddos, and asking them what they need and want and dream of, rather than simply assuming that we have answers and solutions. Our kiddos have ideas of who God is, they have insight and wisdom, they have something valuable to offer the world. I want this month to be a time of intentionally listening to those around us, and of being neighbors and ministry-doers who actually value and factor-in the opinions and views and insights of those around them.
* A few months back, our pastor challenged us to do something he called 5-5-7 (5 minutes of praying, 5 minutes of listening, and 7 minutes of reading the Bible every day). If I've learned anything over the past few months of *trying* to do this every day, it is that I am not a very good listener. I get twitchy and anxious and bored and restless. I'm just not exactly sure how to sit in anticipation and quiet and stillness and listen for the voice of the Lord. I want to explore listening to know the voice of Jesus: What does this look like? What are some more practical strategies, ways to focus etc?
* I am currently in 3 books clubs (overkill, I know). And for one of those book clubs, two months ago we read a book called MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend. I really liked the book, and one of my favorite parts was when the author evaluated herself as a friend. She discussed her habit of interrupting people to tell her own story, instead of listening to what they have to say. In reading her words, I realized that I share this habit. And I cannot stand it. I mean, there's few things that people (including myself) desire more than being heard. And if I cannot do that for my friends, I find it hard to believe I'll do a good job of hearing anyone. 

* Finally, I really want to honor and value the voices that have contributed to our journey. People, friends, writers, who may speak and sound differently than we do, but who have had an invaluable impact on bringing us to where we are and informing our beliefs on justice and following Christ and loving our neighbors. I want to share those voices with you, because I feel like there's immeasurable value in listening to them, whether or not we agree with everything they say.

***Also, could y'all not seriously die at how sweet these pictures are? This is Amir and my Jayci. And when that first picture popped up from my camera to my computer, I literally said out loud: stop it

10 comments:

  1. I love your heart, Becca. I started my own 31 days yesterday, too....31 days to Simply Be (with no blogging!)...for the reasons you listed above. I don't listen to my people well. I'm distracted with real life happening and online life happening and so, yeah, I hear you.
    thanks for keeping it real. =)

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    1. Girl, I feel sad you're not blogging - but proud of you and excited to see what you learn! :-)

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  2. Could this sound any more like me? I think not! My kids are now telling me "hold on" when I'm trying to tell them something and where do they get that from? Me! I will be listening for the next 30 days.

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  3. I need this, too.
    Thanks for doing the heavy lifting so I can just show up and learn. ;)

    xo

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  4. A.) Totally intrigued by the 5-5-7 idea and going to try that.

    B.) In the middle of reading "MWF..." and it has been such a helpful read as I consider old and new friendships. Working on my listening skills, too :)

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    1. You should, I feel like it's my favorite thing I've ever taken away from a sermon :-) ok maybe that's an exaggeration, but seriously.

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  5. I think we all need a lesson in listening, it's not something I excel at by any means, but one thing you mentioned was listening to your neighbors, something I learned recently was I need to stop talking and listen, I can learn so much from these people I long to spend my life with...and I am growing because of them, I am gaining wisdom from them and I am learning so much about my relationship with Christ through them...

    Thinking of you tonight!

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    1. Love you friend! Excited to see you soon! :-)

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