Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

The Best Gift You Can Give Today

14 Comments

Faith in Action Fridays

What if you knew a secret that revolutionizes relationships? This nugget of wisdom can make us better wives, better parents, and wiser counsellors.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give someone.

No book offers more practical wisdom for putting feet to our faith than James, and in the 1st chapter he says this:

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19)

For today, let’s leave anger aside and look at the first part of the verse:

Listening Graphic

Maybe the best gift you can give someone today is to listen.

James’ word of advice speaks loudly to me because I have a mouth with a mind of its own. I get myself into trouble talking more times than I can count. Instead of listening carefully, I tend to:

  • Get distracted by many thoughts and tasks.
  • Jump in with my own comments.
  • Give advice quickly.

So today, I’m on a mission to put a reign on my mouth and slow down enough to really listen to people.  Can you think of anyone in your life who might need you to listen more? Here are three things we can do to become better listeners:

Give the Gift of Undivided Attention.

Listening begins with giving the other person your undivided attention. Instead of shuffling papers, folding laundry, or painting our nails, let’s slow down a moment to look at the person speaking to us. (I’m talking to myself here.)

Don’t Interrupt.

Why is this so hard? We get excited and chime in with our reaction or we jump in with our opinion or advice. How about making an effort today to wait for the other person to finish?

Ask Ourselves, “What Does this Person Need?”

Does the person talking to us have a need? Are they trying to pass on information, make a social or emotional connection, or do they simply want some company? Does the person want help and advice, or do they just want to be listened to? Let’s try to respond according to the need of the person talking.

Will you join me today on my mission? Who knows what person in your life today will need a listening ear? It might be a co-worker during lunch, or your toddler at snack time, or your husband over dinner. It might just be the best gift you can give them.

What about You? Are you more of a listener or a talker?

Equipping Godly Women

 

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

14 thoughts on “The Best Gift You Can Give Today

  1. Oh, I am definitely more of a talker, and a slowly recovering interrupter. I need this post (daily!)

  2. We’re two peas in a pod, Betsy! Talker here. God has been trying to get me to shut up for a long time now. I really need to pay more attention to Him! I’m so guilty of taking care of tasks while one of my kids talks to me–halfway listening–and pretty soon they’re off to their room. Or I get distracted talking to a friend with what’s going on around us. Or my mind won’t focus and I’m thinking of myself. None of this is good. Thanks for being God’s instrument today to remind me, once again, to love through listening.

    • Sabra, believe me, I wrote this post to myself! I do all of those things too. Especially with the kids it can be so hard to focus when you have so many things to do. Today I’ve been reminding myself of this post. “Slow down, and LISTEN Betsy!” is what I’ve been telling myself.

  3. I can definitely stand to listen more! Interestingly, I read in For Parents Only that teens do not consider us parents to be listening, even when we think we are doing a good job. The reason is they want us to acknowledge and affirm their feelings before we jump in with a solution. That’s been a very handy insight for me as I connect with my teens. Thanks for this great reminder!

    • That’s a really great point, Lisa. I know sometimes my kids say things like, “You never talk to me unless it’s to tell me to do something.” (Not true, but their perception nonetheless.) I’m trying to be more intentional about listening to my teens.

  4. I am an interrupter! Unfortunately, it is because I will forget what I want to say, so I interrupt. I need to stop and listen!! Thanks Betsy!

    • Me too, Ellen! Sometimes I get excited about what the person is saying and I mean to chime in with one sentence and continue listening, but even that makes people feel I’ve interrupted, I think. (I also think I’ll forget what I was going to say. And maybe it wasn’t that important anyway!)

  5. I’m definitely a talker! I’ve been trying to be more intentional about the time I spend with my kids though. Making sure I get all of my work done before my oldest gets out of school, so that the time between school and dinner can’t be spent actually with him, not just in the same room as him. Thanks for sharing on Equipping Godly Women Fellowship Fridays!

    • That is a great idea to be intentional about time with kids. I find that as kids get older and seemingly less demanding, it gets easier to neglect spending quality time with them. I want to get more intentional about that too!

  6. This is so true. I was in a conversation today in which I sensed it best to listen, comfort, and let my friend spill. There were periods of silence in her monologue where I wanted to jump in, but having to collect my thoughts in a second language helps me to hold my peace. And it was better that way. She was able to share and her need was met — just having someone to listen.

    • That is so good, Betsy. Not to let periods of silence feel like we have to jump in with something to say. This weekend, I had a long conversation with a friend who needed a listening ear, and having written this post, I was reminded to keep my mouth shut and keep listening!

  7. Another fabulous post, Betsy, thank you! Sometimes that is all people want from us- just to have someone listen and empathize.

  8. Sadly I talker though I have the best intentions of listening. It is a tough habit to learn.

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