Listening Ears, Big Mouth

James 1:19-20

I have a hearing loss. I like to blame it on being a musician and years of in-ear monitors blasting a “click” (metronome) in my ears at volumes far louder than recommended because that sounds cooler than “I have a hearing loss”. The reality is, my dad had a significant hearing loss, my mother has hearing loss, my brother has hearing loss, and my daughter was born with a moderate hearing loss, so odds are, it runs in the family. Either way, listening with understanding can be difficult for me at times.

My husband often gets frustrated with me as I respond with confusion and “huh” more often than either of us would like. Or I think he’s saying something that isn’t even close to what he’s actually saying and react in a manner totally inappropriate to the reality before me. My kids have to repeat themselves time and time again which most likely drives them crazy. I long for the day when I can afford hearing aids so I don’t frustrate those closest to me so frequently. But for now…

I pray that my ears work a little better than my mouth. I hope to be the kind of person who really listens to what others are saying to me (even when I can’t hear them fully). I may not always understand their perspective and I may often disagree but that doesn’t negate the responsibility to listen. When we find ourselves so enamored with our own opinions that ours is the only viewpoint we can see, we might be guilty of this.

There is such a thing as fundamental truth. I do not subscribe to the notion that all things are relative and your truth is different than mine. Some things are black and white without a grey area to smudge and blur the dividing lines. Don’t misunderstand me.

Yet, how can we espouse the truth we hold so dear, and positively influence the life of another person, if we can’t take the time to sit in community with them and hear what they are saying? I think we will find that often times, the things we are getting so angry and upset about “the other side” saying, aren’t really what they are saying at all. We are so quick to polarize. We are so quick to speak before we hear.

I get myself in trouble all the time when I hear (or think I hear) someone say something to me but in my impairment, I think they are saying something completely bizarre and I couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s become a comedy of sorts with my kids because I will quote back to them what I heard which will be something completely off the wall like, “a band of monkeys invaded Pearl Harbor”, and they’ll laugh and tell me they actually said, “there are ants in the tree in the backyard”. Feel free to donate to that hearing aid fund :).

I think we all do that in life all the time. Maybe not literally like I do, but when we jump to conclusions about another person’s intentions, life experiences, perspectives. When we forget that, “Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one].” I Corinthians 13:7 AMP. Slow down and listen! And if you don’t understand, ask questions, and LISTEN to the answer. You might be surprised that your enemy isn’t really an enemy and even if they are, they might be won over with a small amount of kindness.

Our anger will never produce the righteousness of God. Our kindness and patience might shine the light of his glory and truth to generations. We will never win an argument we are fighting against ourselves, but we can learn to listen and speak out of the abundance of a life turned towards Jesus and the goodness of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, that may mean speaking a word of correction and a good dose of disagreement, but that doesn’t mean an angry tirade against the masses. Slow down!

I may not have physical hearing aids yet and my kids will still laugh at me when I think they are saying they want to “dance with piglets” instead of “have some Cheez-its”. But I hope my spiritual hearing aids are tuned to hear everything through the redemptive love of Jesus Christ and a desire to see him shine! Those are the messages I want my big mouth to shout to the ends of the earth.

Blindness

Is blindness of spirit real or is it refusal to see?

Selfishness often masquerades as blindness.

We don’t see because we won’t!

Open your eyes! Listen! Look!

We are not for ourselves, we were made for more…we are made for others.

Walk in love.

It is so much simpler!

Just sayin’

Who are you?

Do you ever think about who’s out there listening

I write this blog, throw these ideas into the air

But I’ll never know who hears them.

Who sees beyond the void…

I think of the words that have changed my life

The moments I stumbled across something that shook me to my soul.

There are words I’ve read that laced up my fighting boots to endure another day.

There are songs I’ve heard that became my anthem for a time.

There is greatness in the smallest of phrases that gave me the strength to keep going.

So who are you dear friend, that I’ve probably never met?

Are there melodies playing in your heart, singing sweetness and moving your feet to the rhythm of tomorrow?

Are there words hanging in the air around you waiting to be plucked, like fruit from the vine to nourish you as you march forward?

Do you know you are loved?

Can you see the romance?

The holy one calling softly, through the noise to find your ears and whisper His promise.

Can you see it?

Can I help?

I will never know. But I’ll continue to throw some words into the void to remind you.

You are seen. You are valuable. You have been created for purpose.

Listen carefully until you hear it.

Listen

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The same phrase keeps resonating in my head this week, “Have you finished doing the last thing God asked you to do?” I’m thinking the answer is probably “no” but I can’t remember the last thing he asked me to do, which makes me realize I’m not listening as well as I think I am, which makes me resolve to tune in today, which makes me a better person, which makes the world a little bit better.

Of Life and Pinatas

My son just turned six as you can see by my previous post “Birthday Thoughts from a Mushy Mom”. In typical “mushy mom” fashion, I let him convince me that he NEEDED a piñata to celebrate properly. Even in the store while purchasing said piñata all I could think about was America’s Funniest Home Videos and how it seems nothing good can ever come from such a thing…which led to my thinking about how on earth I could convince my husband to help in this activity as usually it’s the man assisting who ends up getting whacked in conspicuous places.

My husband and stepfather proved to be very wise men. They configured a pulley system of sorts from which to hang the piñata while providing ample distance between them and the onslaught of small people swinging bats. This also provided the perfect opportunity to mess with the youngsters by moving the piñata at random times thus disorienting them. You can watch what happened as my nephew Malachi stepped up to bat in the following video

We spent a lot of time laughing that day and I’ve watched all of the videos I took of all of the kids taking a whack at it, and I’ve laughed some more. Still, the last couple of days it’s gotten me thinking…

I can’t help but think that often I’m just a kid with a bat swinging randomly hoping for contact. God’s watching and probably laughing at me from time to time. Maybe He’s even moving the piñata occasionally to see if I’ll stay centered & listen for the sound as the prize inside swishes around.

We all have blindfolds on. Maybe it’s just the concept that we see through a glass dimly until we see Him face to face. Maybe it’s just that we allow things to get between us and Him and cover our eyes. The biggest tragedy isn’t when we can’t see, it’s when we don’t listen. He that has an ear, let him hear.

The kids eventually succeeded in breaking open the piñata and enjoying its spoils and so will we as long as we patiently endure. “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:15

Lord, help me to keep swinging and listen carefully.