I can tell, most of the time, if someone is really listening to me or just waiting to respond to what I am saying. When a person is truly listening to what I am conveying I feel valued, I feel acknowledged, and I feel a connection. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not the best listener, I am still a work in progress. There are times I am queuing up my response to a conversation with a friend before they are even done talking.
Just a week ago we had a couple of long-time dear friends over for a socially distanced outside brunch. I love these people and have not seen them in person in approximately two years but here I am trying to sound intelligent, getting my response ready before they were even done with their story. That was not caring for them and certainly not really listening.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19
The podcast I am reviewing this week is called “The Sisterhood Effect” with Monica Harris and the episode is called “The Skill of Listening” and her guest is Amy Carroll. Amy is the author of Exhale and Breaking Up with Perfect, a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and writer teams, and co-host of the Grit ‘n’ Grace podcast.
Monica begins the podcast asking Amy, how can we listen from a biblical perspective and how can we develop that skill? Amy’s states it is a very important conversation right now. There is never such a divided time. People are not listening.
Amy goes on to state that she has had to learn these lessons along the way. When she started working with racial reconciliation groups, it was imperative that she become a better listener. “I learned to play the game, arraign my face so it seemed like I was listening but what I was doing was thinking about the next thing I was going to say to you. I realized then I was a poor listener. I had a misconception that I operated under. That if I was listening to you without responding it meant I agreed with you. ” She went on to say that is not the case “As Jesus followers we want to encourage others and there are times when we need to speak into people’s circumstances or the problem they are sharing. So, I am not advocating never speaking. The misconception I had made me a bad listener.”
Amy began to see God working in her life. “The big change came when God started showing me that listening isn’t agreeing with someone, listening showing love. Becoming a good listener suspends judgement for a little while was showing love to other people.” Amy’s insight to listening around racial reconciliation is powerful. “I needed to listen to their stories without my filter to understand their stories. It is a gift to really listen!”
How does this apply biblically? Amy states “I started with listening to God. I know my quiet time is not always quiet. We have a responsibility to filter things through a biblical filter. We must be in His word to know the filter. We need to be in relationship with God.”
Monica told Amy that “I am grateful that God makes us uniquely different so we can serve in those good works/roles well.” Amy’s answer was “we are all needed in the Kingdom, each of our voices are needed. We are able to reach different people in the Kingdom.”
Amy has a heart to help women use their voices in Godly ways. She has four things that help lead you there: (1) Listen (2) Feel-connect (3) Do- something (4) Speak. She expands more on this topic in her blog called “How to Be a Godly Woman Who Speaks in Godly Ways.”
They concluded the podcast by talking about responsibility verses obedience. Amy states “Obedience is different than responsibility. Obedience is in response to God; an overdeveloped sense of responsibility is a response to self. Which normally does not lead to anything good.” I know at times that line can seem very thin. Are we doing something because we know it is God’s will or are we doing it because we determined it is our responsibility to do it, when really it is not? This is when the four points above come into play.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9
My take away is I will be slowing down my speaking to listen more which will show God’s love to those around me. This is something I have to be intentional about to make sure I am obedient and using my voice in a Godly way. I hope you found this helpful and will be able to glean something helpful in your walk to become a better listener.
The lighthearted piece to my blog is: YouTube video, Christian Moms Be Like: John Crist
The Sisterhood Effect with Monica Harris: The Skill of Listening with Amy Carroll