As most of you know, I’m losing my hearing so I miss a lot of the conversations that go on around me. I can’t really enjoy a television show, because it’s hard to determine the plot when you can’t hear the words. Recently I switched to closed captioning, but even that can lead to misinformation. For example, as I watched the news one day, they were talking about a person who was resigning from her professional position. The announcer said she had been on the job for six months. The caption said, “she had been on the JOHN for six months. I guess I would resign too under those circumstances.
My husband is starting to experience some hearing loss as well, so our conversations have become not only interesting, but at times comical. Since we are locked up together for the duration, we have no choice but to pay close attention when we talk or we miss the entire flow of the conversation. This can also lead to one person raising their voice while the other feels like they’re being yelled at.
A dear friend of mine gifted me with a set of hearing aids that once belonged to her husband. They’re just like new. I’m hoping to figure out how to use them, but until that time I will have to learn to read lips, continue to laugh at the closed captioning or just nod my head in agreement and hope I’m not agreeing to something I’ll regret.
With all the things we currently have on our plates, it seems like a cacophony of noise that is often indecipherable. Politicians are vying for our attention. Health experts are on hand with new ways to avoid getting a virus, reminding us to get our flu shots and even conducting yearly physicals virtually. Our phone conversations have changed into emails and texting. Our discussions turn into arguments. All of this because we aren’t really listening at all.
Friends are becoming enemies. Relatives aren’t speaking to each other. Communication skills have turned into one sided conversations with no thought for another person’s opinion.
Listening is different than hearing and is one of those things that can be selective. We can choose what we want to hear. We can sift through the muck and pick up what we hoped to hear. We can ignore the really important things and focus only on the things that apply to us.
The art of being a good listener is slowly fading from our existence. We’re being fed so much information electronically, that it’s almost impossible to listen. Our minds act like sieves, sorting through it all and trying to make sense of it.
Unfortunately, when we fail to really listen, we can miss some important stuff. A child may have some important words to share about being teased at school. A teen may have feelings of depression or worthlessness. An older child is struggling with decisions about their future and you have tuned them out in deference to a sporting event or the news.
When your life becomes so filled with outside distractions, it’s time to sit down and look at what God has to say about listening.
James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”
Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. “
Ecclesiastes 3:7 “A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”
Proverbs 18:13 “”If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
When we take the time to actually listen to someone, we’re opening our ears to true discernment. Take time today to listen with an open mind. Don’t jump to the conclusion that only your opinion matters. Our country was founded on many ideas and innovations. If we lose the ability to really listen to others, we may possibly miss the answers we’re looking for.