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Listen.


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I am in a Human Services program. This means that I hear a lot about reflective listening, having good listening skills, and being an active listener. When you are being prepared to work with different types of populations, it is important that you have these skills. In this field, you are going to more often meet people who are completely different than you than people who are similar to you. You have to be able to practice true empathy. A huge part of empathy is listening.

Over the past five weeks, I have been participating in a class on groups. I have learned the basics on operating various types of groups and how the dynamics work. One of the aspects of the class was participating in group myself. I learned so much more than I ever thought I would from a five week course.

The thing I learned the most about is listening.

It is easy to share your story especially when you can trust those around you. It is easy to be the one who speaks. You can control the words that are coming out of your mouth. You can decide to what depth you want to share. You can control the words that bring up emotions.

When someone else shares, you have no control over what they are going to say. You have no idea how to anticipate what is going to come out of their mouth. You can learn so much about yourself by truly listening to what someone else is saying. 

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The only thing you can really control as the listener is how much information you absorb. As the quote above says, there is a difference between listening and waiting to talk. When you are waiting for your turn to talk, you are anticipating what you are going to say next. You are thinking about how you are going to add to the conversation, or maybe even how you are going to prove the speaker wrong. We miss so much when we participate in conversations like this. When you are truly listening, one sentence, one comment can change you in a way you never thought possible.

You should talk to God like you are talking to a friend.

I can't count how many times I've heard this statement. I also can't count how many times I have had one-sided conversations with Him. Often times, I spend all of my time asking for His guidance or asking for His will in a situation. I don't like to be quiet so I move on to the next task. Instead, I should be waiting and listening for His response.

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And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.  (1 Kings 19:12, ESV)

God does not always speak to us in a way that we are expecting. We may be expecting a loud booming voice or lightening to strike us down. Instead, He uses words of correction from a friend or parent. We may be expecting rainbows or a flashing neon sign saying "Turn Here" instead it's an ad on a website for a program at a college you would have never considered before then.

God uses whispers to speak to us. If we are actively listening to Him, we will hear them. If we are trying to reflect His character and actively seeking His response, we will get it. We will receive conformation in more ways than one.

If we are spending all of our time asking for things, we will get blindsided by the answer. When you take the hard path, you look back and see everything that could have gone differently if you would have listened earlier.

Take the time to listen to the world around you. Let your conversations change you. Actively seek conversations where you are the receiver more than the giver. 

Listen for God's whispers instead of waiting for Him to shout.

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