I got off the phone with a caller that never stopped talking. He’s someone I’ve never met and yet he felt the need to tell me about his life, never taking a breath to see if I was interested or even listening.
I’m sure you’ve had those experiences with people.
As much as that caller irritated me, I had to admit I had done the same thing over the years.
I’m a fix-it-all kinda person. You come to me with a problem and I have a solution for you and I’m happy to tell you about it.
Don’t we all.
I’ve realized over the years that maybe that’s not what people really need. Maybe it’s something else.
Maybe Jesus is calling us to a different kind of help. Help as in listening to the person. We’re so prone to listen with a mind that is more attentive to what to say next to the person. We miss the cues, the body language and facial expressions that way.
Even more importantly, we miss what God is showing us about himself in that person’s life.
I often forget that when someone asks for my counsel, she comes to me with Jesus in her life. It’s my job to listen well. I’m quick to fix, he’s not. I want to come across as helpful, when Jesus is already her helper.
What people need most of all is someone who will listen to them with a full heart that is not rushed, and who can help locate God in their lives so they can rest in him. This won’t happen if we’re preoccupied with what to say next, or if we’re in a hurry to get the visit over with.
We all need to enroll in the school of active listening. I know I do.
Talk to me.