Tuesday, July 11, 2006


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. "

Please Listen


Kevin Bussey said...

Great advice Paul.

I hate to admit it but I grow more when I'm facing difficulties! So I guess I'm growing right now! :)

Brett and Kelly Burleson said...

I never needed this more than I did today. Thank you for your insight and wisdom.

Love you,

Paul/Mary Burleson said...

Paul (aka Handsome),
I really liked this post on listening. I began to open up to this idea of listening when I attended the seminar entitled Listening for Heaven's Sake a few years ago in Cinncinnati. Haven't learned or practiced it as well as you even though I've been learning much longer. I'm writing to verify that you really have grown in this area. Sometimes it almost overwhelms me when I realize how much you've changed and how much we've grown as a couple. Great post! Love you much.
Mary F.

Bobby Brown said...

Absolutely without question the most important thing in sales work is listening. Most people think the great salesperson is the one with the "gift of gab" but the truth is the great sales person is one who has the great gift of being a good listener. The great sales person asks pertenent questions and then listens to the answers. I have no idea how questions might fit in to your post or perhaps they don't fit at all and keep you from being a good listener?

Bobby Brown

Paul Burleson said...

Bobby, questions are most appropriate I believe. It might be that, in human relationships, they would be for further clarity or understanding of meaning rather than to promote information or impliment change as would be the case in perhaps a business context.. But a guard needs to always be there so that questions don't turn into interrogation.

I think it may also be true that asking questions can be diversionary in human encounters or it has been so with me in the past.

Paul B.

Bob Cleveland said...

I recall a time when I was a learner on a F.A.I.T.H. visit. The leader asked me to share the FAITH outline with the young lady we were witnessing to, and I dutifully launched into it. After two sentences I noticed she was crying.

I scrapped the outline and asked her if she wanted to be saved. She said yes and I asked why. She said she was a sinner and she knew it. I then asked how she wanted to be saved and she said by Jesus. I asked why Him .. and she said He's the only Savior.

I said "Sounds good to me ... tell God what you just told me". I then prayed and all I said was that Kori had something she wants to tell you. She then just poured out her heart to God. Everybody in the room just boo-hooed. It was the most dramatic and heart-warming conversion I've ever seen.

We have two eyes, two ears and only one mouth. Sounds like a subtle warning, to me.

Bob Cleveland said...


I had another thought on this. I've noted that, in my life, spiritual growth does not come from spiritual intake, but rather from spiritual output. Putting to use what God has revealed to you.

When I realized that all the neat spiritual thoughts chasing around in my were NOT my own doing, but rather from God, it occurred to me that I'd best be using them in His work. Else why would He want to reveal anything else to me?

I promised God that, if He showed me anything, I'd use it whenever I could.

It's kind of like reading muscle-building magazines. It don't build no muscles until you put the information to use.

I too don't compartmentalize my life. The Bible says a lot about meditating on the Word. My burning desire in SS is to see my class apply the Word to their lives. God pointed out that would require meditating on the Word, and also on life. I cannot tell you what a blessing that has been.

Bryan Riley said...

As someone who was trained as an attorney, and who is uber-extroverted, this is a great struggle for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the article and pray that God would give me more wisdom in this area. Proverbs speaks to this often. But I am quick to speak rather than slow.

Anonymous said...

I love that comment:

"God just listens and lets me work it out for myself"

This explains to me why I have prayed for wisdom about an issue all summer long and didn't feel like I was receiving any. After much discussion with my husband this past week and talking through the pros and cons, everything fell into place. Sometimes wisdom doesn't come about the way we think it should.

Paul Burleson said...


Thanks for commenting. It's good to hear when something resonates with someone else.

I'm discovering I'm as blessed by what others say in comments as per yours and those above as I am by what I post as an article. Thanks, you've made my 66th birthday start off with a bang.

Paul B.