ICDT #39: Five Ways to Become a Better ListenerJun 27, 2022
What would it look like for you to slow down your inner pace as you converse with someone else? Here are five ways you can practice being present and listening to another person:
Begin to quiet your mind as you listen. We all have distractions, but begin to practice setting aside your own inner whirlwind for a bit. Let the life of the person in front of you come to center stage. Quiet your own mind and tune in to what they are saying. Be at rest in their presence.
Let God’s love for the person enter into your heart. This is the time for empathy. Remind yourself that this person is loved by God exactly as they are. Let God’s reality become yours. As you listen, let your heart fill with love for them. Whatever they share, you know that God is already there. God is accomplishing His work in their life. You can become a conduit for God’s love by opening yourself to God as you listen.
Resist the temptation to problem-solve. It is easy for us to move directly into problem-solving or advice-giving mode. Watch out for this tendency. Most people truly just need to be heard. As they are talking things out, they often stumble upon their own solution. Even if they don’t, your humble, listening ear is still a gift they may not find anywhere else. Don’t rob them of the beauty of simply sharing their life.
Think about what God might have on His heart for the person. Listening to the person and at the same time listening to God—this is an art form we can learn. As you listen, remain open to the heart of God. How might God feel toward this person? What might God desire for their life?
Respond with invitations and questions. When you respond, try to do so in a way that shows you really heard them. Let your response be filtered through the question “What would God desire for them?” For example, you could replace “You know what you should do…” with “What is God inviting you to in this situation?” Give them space to thoughtfully respond.
Listening can help us learn that we do not always have to be “on” or fix other people. The Lord Himself is working His own processes in each of our lives. We can learn to be true friends, mentors, & influencers as we cooperate with Him.