Today’s Word: ‘Challenge’ as in… back to “quick to listen, slow to speak” challenge.
I’m going out on a limb here, but there’s a good chance that most of us are more apt to get this twisted up. We’re far more inclined to be quick to speak and slow to listen. Even in our closest relationships, most of us would rather talk first and then listen, if we’re willing to listen at all. That’s when it’s good to remember that we’ve been given two ears and one mouth for a good reason: to listen twice as much as we speak. When we don’t heed that wisdom, things quickly go south.
Think for a minute about what is gained by taking an extra moment or two between listening and speaking. For instance, recall conversations that you’ve been in that have escalated into arguments. You know the moment when things become dicey, don’t you? The conversation is getting heated—and it’s heating up because everyone is speaking and no one is listening anymore. I usually stop listening because I’m so busy thinking about crafting my next really awesome thought. And when I stop listening because I’m creating a clever and insightful statement, there’s no way on God’s green earth that I’m going to hear you, let alone honor you and your role in the conversation.
This often happens when people are talking about things they‘re really passionate about: sexuality, religion, spirituality, politics, justice, peace, church doctrine, sports teams, March Madness. Whole30. I’ve got a perspective! You’ve got a perspective! And when we try to talk about those differing perspectives, we’re usually quick to speak and slow to listen and that’s when trouble starts and conversations come to a grinding halt.
There’s a lot going on in our world right now; issues that stir our thinking, ignite our passions, draw our ire. Finding common ground is difficult. Add to that the fact that we don’t always know how to talk through things about which we disagree. What to do? Let’s take a big deep breath. Let’s count to ten. Let’s listen.