Some one ask me recently what I thought had been the major factors in any growth I may have experienced over the past few years in my walk with the Lord. Whether there has been growth or not would be for others to say, especially my family, but if there has been, it would be in the thoughts in the article I'm printing today on listening. I have no knowledge of it's author or beginnings but it is powerful in it's content.
I don't compartmentalize life, so any growth in marriage, raising kids, developing friends, or walking with the Lord is spiritual growth to me. While this may not be what the asker of the question on growth had in mind, I would say it has been profound in changing the direction of my life, marriage, family, and my ministry.
It is obvious to anyone who knows me well I'm one who has, in the past, constantly been giving advise, fixing people, correcting their feelings...well, you will see where growth was needed. My desire is that the journey I'm on in learning this will continue because the road is long, a life time long in fact..Enjoy with me and learn.
"When I ask you to listen to me - and you start giving me advice, - you have not done what I requested.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed - strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I ask is that you listen.- Don't talk or do - just hear me.- Advice is cheap; 25 cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.
And I can do for myself; I am not helpless. - Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you are contributing to my fear and inadequacy.
But when you accept as a simple fact that I feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can stop trying to convince you and get about this business of understanding what's behind this irrational feeling of mine.
And when that's clear, the answers often become obvious and I don't need advice. - Irrational feelings make sense when I understand what's behind them.
Perhaps that's why prayer is effective, sometimes, for me, because God often becomes mute, and He doesn't give advice or try to fix things.
God just listens and often lets me work it out for myself.
So please listen, and just hear me. - And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn and I will listen to you. "