Learning to say no is only one lesson on this journey over the past year. When God is leading you down an unknown path, introspection becomes an important part of what you do, learning about what drives you and what always has. Lesson #2: listening on purpose.
By nature, I’m a listener. I will talk if it’s necessary, but I don’t want to or need to talk and will give you plenty of changes to talk. But over the past few months, I realized I needed to focus on listening.
Just yesterday morning, I was having a conversation with a good friend. I found myself consciously turning the conversation back to my friend, wanting to know more about what was going on and his holiday plans for the coming week.
It was hard not interjecting my own two cents.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few months thinking about and exploring new friendships in new communities. I’ve had a lot to learn, and only people in these communities can tell me what their community is really all about.
In new communities, new situations, new friendships, we have a few key things we can do to listen better.
We have to let people tell their story so we know as much about them as they know about us. Like really know about them. It is not enough for us to only tell them about ourselves. To be a good friend/neighbor/co-worker, we have to know where they’re coming from.
If they ask you a question, answer and turn around to ask them another question.
Turn this yes/no question:
Do you like your neighborhood?
into this open-ended question:
What is the best thing about your neighborhood?
We have important lessons to learn, and all of these conversations require us to take a few steps out of our comfort zone. This is good for us.
Get them talking and let them talk. You’ll be amazed what you might learn about someone!
Who are you going to listen to on purpose this week?