By listening we are changed



They say the best communicators are excellent listeners.  Does that mean that a lot of us are poor communicators?  Or is it that what we listen to has little or no lasting positive effect on our lives?

Words are swirling all around us and in our heads.  What we listen to and how we internalize it becomes a major game-changer in our lives.

 

The booming voice inside

Let’s start with the negative words we feed our minds.  Some of us wonder why our minds are messed up, but it’s sometimes a consequence of talking down to ourselves.  How crazy is that? 

In his book Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller takes us to task for indulging in such deflating self-talk:  “If we hear, in our inner ear, a voice saying we are failures, we are losers, we will never amount to anything, this is the voice of Satan trying to convince the bride that the groom does not love her.  This is not the voice of God. God woos us with kindness, He changes our character with the passion of His love.”

To combat the destructiveness of negative self-talk, Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz recommends in his book You Are Not Your Brain what he calls relabeling.  In order to stop hostile self-talk, Dr. Schwartz says, first you must become aware of it and call it what it is.  Only then can our internalized words and our true identity be aligned.



The noise and clamor outside

Wow.  Where to start?
Mixed-up media messages: A litany of negative news on television and radio; talk radio; fake reality TV encouraging us to adopt warped value systems.
The “woe is us” posse:  The moaners and groaners whose mantra is:  ” The sky is falling!  There’s no hope in sight!  People are all bad!”

Beth Moore notes in her Whispers of Hope journal that “what we hear has tremendous impact on how we talk. . . .  Sometimes simply refusing to talk the way the world talks is a powerful witnessing tool.”

The toxic types:  Those who belittle and verbally destroy everyone, including us.  Need gossip and character assassination?  They’re your go-to guys.  Often self-hatred is being projected onto you through their words.

Beth Moore warns that “self-loathing can be contagious. . . . We’ve destructively rehearsed the cutting words repeatedly in our minds, allowing them to scar us almost irreparably.”

Music that neither uplifts nor edifies.  Not every song has to be deep and spiritual, but I have no business listening to people cussing in songs or being lewd.  Hearing that stuff does something to your spirit.  There’s nothing wrong with any genre of music; the problem lies in the lyrics attached to the music.
So, how do you nurture healthy listening?
Pay attention to what you’re inadvertently allowing into your listening field.  Filter out what doesn’t fit who you are as a child of God.

 

Think about who all comprise your inner circle.  Where are their heads at?  What’s coming out of their mouths?  Cultivate relationships with positive, uplifting people.

Take time to absorb the Word of God, as well as good teaching and preaching, and let it bring change to your life.  “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves,” says my favorite New Testament writer, James.  “Do what it says.” 

 

Change comes through wise listening

The Bible mentions the word “listen” more than 400 times.  Perhaps we should listen to it?
In his book “The Hearing Ear,” Larry Lea explains that “God wants you to have ‘hearing ears,’ but you must develop your spiritual ears to the point that you know and understand God’s voice when He speaks to your spirit.” 

I really enjoyed reading about a memorable encounter in Brian McLaren’s book, Naked Spirituality:

“Mother Teresa was asked by a reporter what she said to God when she prayed.  ‘Mostly I just listen.’  The reporter then asked what God said to her.  ‘Mostly He just listens,’ she replied.”

That would preach, wouldn’t it?

Most important, we should be changed by hearing from the One we claim to serve:  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  (John 10:27)
Which “listening habits” do you need to change?  Are there new ones you need to add to your life?

 

 


Comments

  1. You are one savvy sister. If there was a savvy sister award you'd win it hands down. Where does your mind go that you come up with such compelling thoughts? OK let me guess? THE BIBLE??? 🙂

  2. @Michelle @Radiant Brown BeautyYou've got me here laughing, Michelle! Yeah, I give mad props to the Word! It's all that!

  3. Ali….truth rings…doesn't it! I love you girl!

  4. @GlennaSure does, Blanche! Keep your ears open!

  5. Hi I saw your post on another blog and had to hop on over and join u in every way I could.U truly brought inspiration to my day! Thank You. I am LaTonya @Sesynurse My blog is http:detroitmomandherviews.blogspot.com I hope you will come by and say hi Following u via GFC, networked blogs, liked you on facebook & will follow u on twitter ASAP! One Love

  6. Oh, I wanted to say this: I tell my husband & sons this daily! Communication is the key to a successful relationship! One Love! Peace

  7. @LaTonyaLaTonya, welcome! I will be following you too! You are so right; communication, especially listening, is a deal maker/breaker in every relationship. We all have to work on it daily!

    Love,

    Ali

  8. It's a Done Deal! Grabbed your button & placed it on my blog! 🙂

  9. @LindsLinds, thanks so much! Really hoping that this blog will be a blessing to many. I just followed you, too.

  10. Hey im a new follower-beautiful blog! Really love the layout and what its all about!!! God Bless 🙂

    come visit if you'd like!!

    http://hisloveonpaper.blogspot.com/

  11. Really interesting post. 🙂

  12. @Shannon BreenThanks, Shannon!

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