Put the Book Down and Just Listen

On my Sabbatical I am immersing myself in Scripture, especially this week as I reflect on Christ’s journey to the cross, in order to hear His voice personally and to be mastered by Him. Yesterday I was moved to tears as I listened (in my ear buds to a dramatized rendition of the book of Matthew) to how all Jesus’ disciples betrayed him… When the going gets tough, and pain and persecution sets in as the age draws near, will I betray him too?
At other moments, I simply sit on a bench in the park and just… listen. Sometimes I ask God a question and then just listen. I never thought such a simple exercise could work, but we rarely do this in our busy culture. One also has to be careful to discern if something is from God or not using Scripture. So, you need to be immersed in truth in order to discern it.


I read this from Henri Nouwen this morning…

Reading Spiritually About Spiritual Things

Reading often means gathering information, acquiring new insight and knowledge, and mastering a new field.  It can lead us to degrees, diplomas, and certificates.   Spiritual reading, however, is different.  It means not simply reading about spiritual things but also reading about spiritual things in a spiritual way.  That requires a willingness not just to read but to be read, not just to master but to be mastered by words.  As long as we read the Bible or a spiritual book simply to acquire knowledge, our reading does not help us in our spiritual lives.  We can become very knowledgeable about spiritual matters without becoming truly spiritual people.
As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God’s voice.  Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through its words.

– Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from: “Bread for the Journey”, by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Sabbatical Learning So Far…

The education I have received in the last week and a half of my sabbatical is truly enriching. I’m beginning to wonder how I’m going to be able to encapsulate and communicate all that I have learned in just a week and a half! And I have almost another three months to go! I find that I can barely keep up with all the things I am learning. I’m journaling constantly jotting things down in point form of all the rich nuggets I am being made aware of. It has become quite obvious that we as people go through our days with eyes barely open. We completely neglect how God is at work in the stillness of our lives because we barely are ever still. And those of my loved ones who are forced to be still out of health issues, have learned so much more than all of us put together. Sitting with them for 15 minutes alone I receive an incredible education from them- more than any degree I could earn after several years. Academia, I fear, often drowns out the golden nuggets of life. Doing life and being aware of the Designer at work is far more enriching than classroom learning. Yes, this from me who worked in two different academic institutions myself.

How Well Do You Listen?



Are you a good listener?

I was just drafting up this post when my husband and I went through an experience of listening. So, hubby if you read this… I’m not posting this in spite of our wonderful conversation this morning. 😉 But, just the opposite… now I’m even more excited about this post! Love you sweetie! Thanks for listening to me this morning!

Friends, I have 2 quotes or sources I’d love to share with you on listening…

Here’s the first…

Listening is the greatest gift a life coach can give to a leader. The leader talks and the coach listens 80% of the time. Bottom line: If you are talking, you are not listening.

5 ways to listen: with your mind, with your body, with your words, with your intuition, with the Holy Spirit. (If you have no idea, what you are going to say, you are in the best place. Do not rush to share your insights.)

Ways to listen better: To their situation, their behaviours, their emotions…

Encourage, Restate, Summarize, Clarify, Acknowledge.

Three Levels of Listening:

Level One – Internal

Level Two – Focused

Level Three – You and Them Together… You and them together… Looking together at their world.

“You cannot teach a man anything. You can help him discover it within himself.” – Galileo

(Source: Keith E Webb, The COACH Model)

Here’s my second source on the topic of listening…

Listening as Spiritual Hospitality

To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.

(Source: Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey)

How well do you listen to others around you? Let you and I be intentional about listening. Our lives will be enriched as our relationships grow and become richer because we seek first to understand, giving others a chance to be heard, and validated. Then, and only then, may a door be opened to lovingly coach them. (More on coaching for another post…)

Ready? Seek to listen today…