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Are you listening?

Are you listening?

Do you hear from your heart?

The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain;
those who accept it avoid the snares of death.

It never ceases to amaze me how much personality affects so many areas of a person’s life. I have nine kids, three in-Loves, and eight grandkids with one more on the way. I gave birth to six of those kids, they have the same two parents, they were raised in my home (although I have to admit to those times I seriously considered sending one or another off to boarding school or, even worse, military school), they definitely cannot deny each other in the looks department, but they are so very different from each other! And I look at the kids, in-Loves, and grandkids I gained when Ken and I married, and, voila, additional confirmation of just how uniquely created each and every one of us is. I am often amazed at how different we are and how differently each one of us can hear the same thing that is being spoken to all or a group of us. How does that work anyway?

A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline;
a mocker refuses to listen to correction.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were with a group of people listening to the same speech or lecture or sermon… or whatever… and in the conversation that followed, you feel like surely some of those folks must have left a clone behind and gone and listened somewhere else to someone other than the person you were listening to together? Have you ever wondered why that is? Do you have anyone in your life who is your “sounding board” or your “checkpoint”? Do you place value on “submitting one to another” for accountability and personal growth? Who are your advisors?

Pride leads to conflict;
those who take advice are wise.

There is so much that effects what we hear and how we apply what we hear. Do you ever consider your own frame of mind before you head into that meeting or that service or even that personal conversation with a friend? Have you ever noticed that how you feel about life, yourself, and others has a huge impact on what you hear being said? Have you noticed that what you are doing and what is going on around you also impacts what you hear and how you interpret what you hear?

People who despise advice are asking for trouble;
those who respect a command will succeed.

I love experimenting – especially on human guinea pig types. (I know, I have a strange sense of humor, don’t I?) I love to see how circumstances, surroundings, and personalities effect how others hear what is said to them. For example, have you ever given your kids or friends directions when they are playing a video game and watched how they responded or asked them later what they heard? Or perhaps while listening to different types of music? How much of what you said did they hear and retain? Presence and attentiveness are very interesting aspects of our humanity, don’t you think?

A person with good sense is respected;
a treacherous person is headed for destruction.

How often do we allow ourselves to drift off and not be present in the moment? Sometimes it is with family members. Sometimes it is with co-workers and colleagues. Sometimes it is with friends and acquaintances.  Sometimes it is even with God Himself. While it is true that paying attention requires concentration and intentionality, I believe the true basis of being present, especially with others, requires genuine love, God’s love poured out through us.

Wise people think before they act;
fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.

Have you ever noticed throughout the Gospels how attentive Jesus was to His surroundings and to the people around Him? He was first attentive to His Father’s voice guiding and instructing Him and giving Him direction. And He was attentive to the needs of those around Him, even to the expression of their thoughts and doubts. He could “read their thoughts” because He was so in tune with His Father and with human nature. He was never caught off-guard or surprised by the effect of humanity on any individual or group of people. He knew the heart of man, and yet He freely and fully loved us – to the point of putting Himself on the cross to restore our fallen relationship with Yahweh and with Himself! Now that is amazing grace!

Do you hear Him speaking to you? Are you one of His sheep? Are you paying attention?

Listening in His Presence

Listening in His Presence

Scripture texts from Proverbs 13, New Living Translation

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