Listening with Your Heart
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 NLT
“The time is always ripe to do the right thing.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I confess. I’m not a good listener. I’m better than I was but I have a long way to go. Every time I show up in my life, no matter the circumstances, there’s a listening opportunity. My marketing career depended on listening. I couldn’t solve a business problem without active listening. The most difficult listening experience for me is listening with my heart and not just my head. The new heart God gave me. This takes presence. This takes self-awareness. This makes the other a priority. This takes humility. No rushing in with a Bible quote, preachiness or answers.
Jesus asked many followers, “What do you want me to do for you?” Most wanted physical healing. Some tried to trap him with clever questions and setups. Some worshiped at his feet speechless with tears. Some sneaked in at night hoping to not be seen. God in the flesh asking me what I want him to do for me. Astonishing!
I have asked him for healing, relief from financial burdens, success, relief from grief, abolishment of shame. I begged for relief from grief when my husband died. I begged God to take away my addictions. Take away the loneliness, please.
I didn’t ask Jesus, “What do you want me to do for you?” I came close and fear of being a missionary in a third world country filled with cannibals and becoming possibly their dinner, overcame me. Slammed that door shut with no further listening and lots of excuses: I’m too old. Not enough money. Fear for my life, actually. Comforts of home gone. No listening whatsoever. Door slammed shut with no trust that God has perfectly designed my role for him.
What if I listened to God and he did say that? It’s always a good idea to inquire, “Tell me more about that.” And listen with my heart. When comforting a bereaved person, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Tell me more about him or her.” When comforting a skinned up child or dramatic adolescent, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Tell me more about that.” Heated argument with a significant other. “What do you want me to do for you?” “Tell me more about that.” I learned this from a tax lawyer and atheist, of all people. God works in mysterious ways.
By the way, I have not been called to be a missionary. I have been called to show up each day and listen, serve and be open. I miss the mark, at times, on this too.
This quote came from my daily reading today. I think it ties in beautifully with listening with the heart. “People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
You listen to us all the time with a loving, open heart. You only do what’s right for each of us, even when we miss your mark, even in our misunderstanding, even in our pain, even in our loneliness, even in our grief. So we timidly ask, “What do you want us to do for you?” “Please tell us more about that.”