being a good listener

as i  began to type this, my husband entered the room and began telling me about his thoughts on the housing market crisis that we all face today or the stock market or something.... i don't know i wasn't really paying attention.  (plus that kind of topic puts me in an immediate state of numbness and i begin to nod off. ) anyway, as i continued to look up from my computer, at realistic intervals, nodding at him (to give him the impression that i am, in fact, listening, he asks..."so what's the title of your blog?" to which i reply..."being a good listener."   we pause.  then let loose with laughter!  wow.  yet another strong confirmation that this is exactly what God is trying to get across to me!  this subject has been hounding me for several days.  it's something that is very important to me, and yet i'm apparently not very good at it.
can you think of someone right now that you LOVE having conversations with?  ( i can...my mom)  a person that intently listens when you share your heart.  someone that sincerely cares about what you're sharing. someone that makes you feel like they took on some of your burden so that when you go your separate ways, you feel lighter.  and loved.
ok, now can you think of a person that you dread having a conversation with?  that person that invariably interrupts.  (possibly my biggest pet peeve!) someone that perpetually brings the subject back to themselves at every possible turn.  someone that is easily distracted, doesn't even let you finish sentences...let alone whole thoughts.  someone that makes you feel inadequate, frustrated, small.
there is a big difference between those 2 people... between those 2 conversations.  which one are you?  which one am i?  what kind of attention to we bestow upon others?  do we convey concern?  are our intentions selfish?  or are they other-oriented?
i have been made painfully aware of my inadequate abilities as a listener during my quiet times, my times alone with Jesus.  more often than not these days i'm finding myself distracted, selfish with my time, and in a hurry, like  i need to get on to the next thing on my list.  and all the while God listens.  he doesn't interrupt.  he DOES try to bring the subject back around to himself, however!  i'm the one trying to draw the attention to ME.  so that's me not listening.  yes, he is there to help me. to heal me.  but that only happens when i shut up and listen.  let HIM speak.  and in order for me to hear him, i have to be quiet.  wait.  listen.
maybe this week we can attempt this together?  to sit still, wait and listen.  obviously  it won't always be for great big long drawn out periods of time...because let's face it, there are jobs and kids and husbands and pets that do need to be attended to... but we can manage our time better.  i know i fail at this regularly!  but with recognition comes renewal!  so we recognized that we need to change something... now we renew our commitment to do so.  God's grace and forgiveness allow us to...  they enable us to do it.
Ephesians 2:4-5  "but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved."
Psalm 46:10  "be still and know that I am God"