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“The first duty of love is to listen.” ~Paul Tillich

This statement stung as I saw how often I’ve failed to love. I have been told that I am a good listener (and on bad days, a not so good listener), but I am learning that I have only begun scratching the surface in honing this seemingly simple, yet subtle, art.

I realized that I often listen to people to find out what they need in order to try to help them. Of course there is value in this, but I am finding that there is a much greater purpose in listening: listening in order to hear, understand, know…

How much intimacy and insight there is to be won by truly hearing peoples’ hearts… such an accessible and powerful opportunity to show someone how valuable they are.

I have often missed out on such opportunities with God as well, as the majority of our conversations have consisted of me speaking way more than listening. Thankfully, He is gracious and still speaks, but how much more would I hear what He is saying if I would just listen? (Thankfully too, He is an attentive Father and loves to hear me out, but still…)

I am excited as I explore this discipline of listening. Excited to hear, to discover, to grow, to connect with others and with God, as well as with myself, as I stop and listen to what my own heart is saying.

“I’m speechless, in awe (…) I’ve talked too much, way too much. I’m ready to shut up and listen.” ~Job 40:3-5 (The Message)