We are all so different, thank goodness! I know that the world would be a very scary place if everyone was just like me. If that was the case everything would stay broken, there would be a lot more road signage (as I’m always lost), AND professional baseball would be a year-around sport! I could go on… but that probably sounds horrible enough to you. I would also venture to say that the world be a little quieter.
The diversity with which our God created us is wonderful. I am so thankful that my wife is strong where I am weak and that I am strong in her weaknesses. I am an introvert. That is an often misunderstood term. Without having a lot of time to break it down, it basically means that I recharge and refresh in quiet solitude or with just a couple of very close relationships. There is so much more to say… but not today. However, I do feel compelled to dispel the rumor which says that introverts hate being around people, in front of people, or just hate people in general. I absolutely love people. I love preaching in front of people. I love teaching in front of people. I love talking to people and being around people.
Having an introvert’s perspective while being a pastor has revealed to me that many people either do not know how to listen well, or they are very uncomfortable listening. This manifests in countless ways. For example, I often hear people ask another person a question just because they want to share their own answer to that question. The question is asked, and by the glazed look in their eyes, you can tell they are crafting their pontification.
The accessibility of the internet and media has not helped us in this area either. It is not unusual to see two people having a conversation and while one is talking the other is scrolling through Facebook on their iPhone and then they just switch roles back and forth.
I believe that one of the most profound displays of Christ-like love is to truly listen. This will transform a marriage. It will change the course of a parent/child relationship. It will strengthen accountability and discipleship relationships. It will open doors for gospel conversation throughout our everyday lives.
Let’s be honest, what we are really saying here is that we need to stop being so consumed with thinking that what we have to say is the most important thing that can be said or heard and begin prioritizing others.
God has surrounded you with people. To look at it a little differently, He has placed you amidst a very specific group of people (work, neighborhood, family, church, etc.). How might you be able to love them in a more selfless manner if you really committed to listening to them?
Listening is a learned skill, but it is so very powerful. Are you willing to take the challenge to listen more and better? Listening is a neglected gift that we have the opportunity to give to those around us, which yields great blessings.