Sunday, January 6, 2013

Take 5 with Kathy - "Listening..."

I’ve been focusing lately on the topic of listening partly because it is the new theme for our church’s ladies Bible study. It is called, “Discerning the Voice of God”, by Priscilla Shirer. Previewing and preparing this DVD series has been really excit
ing. Already, I’ve been incredibly blessed and encouraged.

Listening, for many of us, is a skill that must be learned and developed. It plays a key role in effective communication. All of us have been either misunderstood or we have misinterpreted someone else because of the inability to listen well. Listening differs from hearing in that it requires conscious attention not only to what one is saying but also to what they communicate non-verbally. True listening is very satisfying and rewarding yet I’ve often found that I feel more tired after a long, meaningful, and in-depth conversation than if I had physically exerted myself.  I’ve heard that listening can actually even help to lower our blood pressure! I hope this is so. Perhaps we would be healthier if we listened more than we spoke.

Some of my pet peeves regarding listening include:

- being interrupted before I finish what I’m saying, causing me to lose my train of thought

- sensing the other person is hearing with one ear while mentally formulating what they want to say

- trying to carry on a conversation with someone who is reading, texting, or watching TV while they claim to be listening to me

- annoying background noises that distract me or the other person

I heard this quote as a child and I’ve never forgotten it,

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – Robert McCloskey[i]

Now, there’s one that takes a little extra concentration! How easy it is to simply hear what one says but totally miss what they intended.

I’ve been observing my six-month-old kitten as he develops his listening skills. Usually, he reacts instantly to something he hears causing him to be startled or frightened. As he grows older, however, he is more apt to investigate what he hears and learn what made the noise and whether it is something to fear or not. He tends to sleep through sounds that once drove him to frenzy while other noises, such as my husband opening the garage door, are greeted with pointed ears and a soft swishing of his “feather-duster” tail.

Listening for the voice of God has occupied much of my thoughts over the past few months. It takes time and practice and is a life-long pursuit. No one ever gets it right all the time. But, it is something that God desires for us in order for our relationship with Him to be intimate, meaningful, and lasting.

In Jeremiah 33:3 God says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

When the apostles Peter, James, and John were with Jesus as He was transfigured before their eyes, God spoke to them from a cloud saying, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!”

For those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour, we belong to Him. He calls Himself the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep. “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

When I anticipate and expect God to speak, He often does so with a clarity that astounds me! This happened to me on Thursday morning as I was preparing to attend a meeting. I suddenly felt overwhelmed with anxiety and physical discomfort making it necessary to sit down. I cried out to the Lord and opened my Bible. As I read Psalm 95:6-7, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.”, I closed my eyes and asked God to speak. My mind was promptly flooded with verse after verse from His Word. Many I had learned as a child and teenager and they came to me with such accuracy I knew it was not just from memory! As the voice of God penetrated my soul I experienced emotional release and the tears flowed. A peace came over me and in spite of some physical discomfort, I was renewed with confidence that God would enable me to get up and do what He had called me to do.

I looked down at the next verse and simply marveled at God’s timing, “Today, if you hear His voice…”

Have you ever noticed that “silent” and “listen” are spelled with the same letters?

Until next Sunday,



  1. Kathy,

    Your post is beautiful and so inspiring. Thank you!

    For me, this is what blogging is all about.

    Barb ♥

  2. Dropped by your blog from another as you do and really enjoyed your thoughts and inspirations.
    thanks for sharing and love the kitten photograph - so peaceful

  3. thanks Barb and Ann for your kind comments. Glad you enjoyed my blog!


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