We were walking a trail at a state park and it was beautiful. I had a lot I wanted to say: “Let’s take this path, look at those wildflowers, we should play a game later, let’s cook over the fire tonight…” and on and on. I took a big breath to start my discourse… then God shut my mouth. He caused me to pause and listen instead. My boys were already talking to each other, discussing their futures. Peyton plans to be a famous author (he has no doubts). Troy (the business minded one) was figuring out ways he could make money and then invest in his brother’s plan, helping him to get published. What a golden moment to hear and I nearly ruined it with my own verbal agenda.
God gave me a gentle reminder of my need to listen more often than I talk. Some days I feel like a non-stop cascade of advice and commands. Disguising it as “help”. We women fall easily into that trap of justifying why we need to run our mouths so often. When you get down to it, it is a pride and control issue (aka sin). God tells us through James, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” 1:19. Are you hearing God’s voice in this verse? Listen to it, there is a wealth of wisdom found here. Time to heed it.
I encourage you to pause and listen to your children, to your husband and to your friends. Don’t spend time with people just to get your needs met or for your own purposes. Love those around you by caring about what they have to say. Listen to their lives. Great relationship building happens when someone feels “heard” by another. Try it.
The second area I want to draw your attention to is listening to counsel. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” Proverbs 19:20. There are some women who are very difficult to counsel because they will not stop talking. There is a time for expressing what you are struggling with, but there is also time to be quiet and receive the guidance requested. It should be a gentle back and forth of giving and receiving. I want to love you well and equip you to serve the Lord with all of your heart, please allow me (or whoever is providing good, biblical counsel) to do that by pausing to receive it. We will both be blessed for it.
Ladies, please practice listening more often than you speak. Keep James 1:19 in mind and try to live it out, being quick to hear and slow to speak. I think you will be surprised by the fruit gained. Above all, listen to God’s voice found in his written word. Without it, we have nothing good to say anyway.