Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. Proverbs 12:15
Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. Proverbs 18:13
I think that I could spend the rest of my ministerial career in the book of Proverbs because just about each verse of this very wise, deep, and insightful book is a self-standing sermon which would provide me with many years of sermon texts. And I am not surprised that there are many references to the wisdom of listening as wise living and wise be-ing including the practice of listening.
It has been a few weeks (months, maybe?) since I posted about My One Word for 2014 – listen. I have learned and I am still learning that listening is hard work.
“You’re not listening to me,” was a refrain my mom often used (and sometimes she still does!) when I was not really listening. I was thinking about something else, I was planning in my head for something else, and I was not focused on what she was saying to me.
Listening is hard work.
Two days ago Amy Young wrote a post over at oneword365.com “Seven Questions:: Quarterly Review” in which she lists seven questions to ask now three plus months into 2014 about the One Word which many people have picked in place of a New Year’s Resolution. Here they are:
- Do I still like my word?
- Where do I see evidences of my OneWord365?
- In what ways has my word surprised me?
- How has my OneWord365 served, prepared, or protected me so far this year?
- In what ways has my word disappointed me?
- If there are significant disappointments, do I need to explore this area more?
- Are there ways I need to open myself up more to my OneWord365?
Last year’s word was Empower (and I am still doing that) and this year’s word is Listen (which I am learning to do.)
I still very much like my One Word and I still believe that it was God directed as I need to consistently slow down and listen to God, others, and myself. The importance of listening has shown up everywhere but nowhere as intense and important as within my own heart. Often I feel the prompt of the Spirit to simply stop.sit down.slow down.and listen.
Without it becoming a overachieving and overindulging navel gazing experience, listening to my own anxious, fearful, codependent soul with the Holy Spirit present at times has been one of the most difficult things to do. Listening is hard work.
I think that My One Word for this year has been serving as a circuit breaker against overdoing it (whatever it maybe) and so it has protected me in ways that I cannot see and have yet to see. But I have not been disappointed with this word. If anything, as Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen has pointed in their book My One Word it will take us in a direction we do not expect to take. I am already experiencing this when I realize that I need to be listening more carefully to what others are saying.
So for this first quarter of 2014 I am grateful to the Lord for this word but listening is hard work.