This past week I got to spend a few days with some other pastors who I really respect and who happen to be my friends. I get to hang out with these guys a few times a year and it is such a blessing. Over the course of our time together, one of the guys said something that was really helpful and useful. It was on a topic that I care about now and have for a long time. As I reflected, I realized he had said this information before, but I was not listening in the past. I was present and I heard it before, but I was not listening.
This got me thinking. Sometimes we blame our parents, or our friends, or our church, or our mentors or our coaches or whoever for not telling us. We say, “hey, why didn’t you talk about this?” And here is the thing often time they did. Now sure, some times the voices are silent and what needs to be discussed is not being discussed. But we need to be real. We often do not hear because we do not care. For some reason in that moment, we did not care enough to hear what was being said. We were too young, too selfish, too naive, to tired, too “smart”, too in love, too special or whatever. But just like me with the guy, I did not hear the great stuff being said, because in the moment before I did not care enough to hear.
So what are you not hearing that you should be? What are you not listening to that you will regret ignoring. Here are a few questions that can keep you from the “I was not listening” disease. Ask yourself the following:
- What is a topic I shut down or check out as soon as it is brought up?
- What are things I am doing that are keeping me from not being able to fully listen in certain environments? (staying up too late for school or church)
- Who are smart people I need to get in front of more because I listen when they talk?
- What resources am I seeking out to gain the right information if you feel like they appropriate folks are not talking?
- What information did I ignore in the past that bit me in the future and how will I learn from that?
- Am I willing to acknowledge that I might not be listening because I do not want to hear the information because I know I am wrong?
Most of the time I chose not to listen because it was not what I wanted to hear. I was most definitely looking to justify or rationalize what I already knew what I was doing was wrong In my heart and because of these reasons I caused myself and others much pain.