Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm Still Not Listening!

I shared before that I am doing a Bible study by Mary A. Kassian called, "Conversation Peace: The Power of Transformed Speech". I kind of went into it thinking that I could use a tune up. How cocky of me! The Lord is slapping me silly with this study! Apparently I have a problem with my listening skills.

This is sort of embarrassing, because I've taught other women these skills many times. I'm typing this out, so that in a way I'm accountable, to you (my bloggy friends and family who read this).

These are the areas that I need to work on when it comes to ineffective listening habits:

Do you recognize any of these listening patterns in your own life? Tell me I'm not alone, People!!!

1. Assuming Alice-assumes that she knows what you think and feel. Alice could finish all your sentences. She does not hear when you offer new or different information.

2.Self-Centered Samantha-Manages to turn any conversation into an opportunity to showcase her own perspectives and opinions. All that matters to Sam is that you know what she thinks.

3.Solution Sally-knows how to fix everything. Before she has even hears you out, she knows what you ought to do.

In short, I need to Limit my Lip! By talking less, I give the other person the opportunity to express his or her COMPLETE thoughts. A philosopher once said, "We have been given two ears and but a single mouth, in order that we may hear more and talk less."

Identify Key Issues: Effective listeners use their "spare thinking time" to extract the main thought from the speaker's words and behavior. They ask themselves questions such as: "How does she feel?" "What does this mean to him?" You are thinking about you and what brilliant quip you are going to offer to the conversation! You are thinking about them!

I've examined my heart and been as brutally honest with the Lord, as I have you. Part of why I am an Assuming Alice is that I fear my memory is so bad that I'm going to forget what I want to say. Another part of Assuming Alice is that I think I know what you are about to say. I want you to know that I can relate so much with what you are saying that I can finish your sentences for you! I got in this bad habit with my twin, Jackie. We thought it was cool that we could finish each other's sentences from the time we were 10 years old. This bad habit has poured into our grown up relationships and probably drives people batty (right Diana?LOL!). If I've done this to you in person, accept my apology. I'm going to work harder on this, I promise!

Now, how am I a Self-Centered Samantha? Again, I always want to "relate" to people, so if they mention something, I'm searching the back of my mind to tell them my perspective. This isn't necessarily wrong to do all the time. It would be a pretty dry conversation without any kind of interaction. I need to listen more and really see if they want my input, instead of interjecting it constantly.

Ahhh, Solution Sally. That's me! I've got a solution for everything, even before the conversation is done, I've got a solution for you. I need to listen completely, then perhaps tell the person (who is asking for a solution) that I will think on it and pray about it. After those things are done, I will then get back to them.

So there you have it! If you ever thought this girl was a Saint, you were sadly mistaken. Don't you dare put me on that pedestal! I'm a work in progress.

At first I was so discouraged when I read this stuff in my Bible study. I couldn't believe that I had that much to work on. I was overwhelmed with grief for my actions, thinking how prideful I must be. On the other hand, I'm so thankful God is scraping this stuff out of my heart, so that my speech can be transformed.

"Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks"-Matthew 12:34

I want my heart to be pure, so that my speech can become pure!

Have I touched a nerve? If so, please bow your head and ask God to show you if you have a heart problem. He is listening and waiting for you to go to Him and show you exactly what you need to work on.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!


Sarah said...

Oh Stacie! You have me caught red-handed on every single definition there! I identify with you, in why we sometimes do or say these things; to exemplify that I can relate to the person I'm talking to. Thank you Stacie for using your Bible study to bless and challenge me! I'll definately be aware of this more in the future.

God Bless

Parsley said...

I can relate to more than one of these 'personalities'. I pray I use wisdom when and IF I speak.

La Familia Garcia said...

YUP. This can also go back to listening to your children. But thanks for posting this, I've tried to be more aware of this in my own life! Oh how our hearts are full of darkness. Only God can change us.

Connie said...

Communicating is challenging. I like to offer words when someone goes blank - oh dear. Not that I can always think of my own words! LOL

Cat said...

I love you so much! You are an example, a model, the lead goose in the affairs of our mouths. Thank you for iterating and reiterating what we need. So, about this study: are there videos too, or is it a stand alone kind of deal with the book. Since she has 2 such studies, can you be specific? I'm wanting to lead this for some women.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

As you already know, I'm all three of these personalities, too. I'm so glad you were convicted of this, so I could work on it too. It is tough, but I know that is what God wants. I praise God that He gave me YOU to be my accountability partner. I look forward to "practicing" at scrapbook camp this weekend!

Love you,

debylynne said...

oh me oh my. you got me on two out of three for sure....for exactly the reasons you yourself listed, too. the only one that i don't really do any more is the last one....i'm a 56 year old grandmother and when it comes to really really important things i KNOW i don't have the "answers" and as they are sharing i am sending up SOS's to the throne of God...i had to learn to tell people the same thing - i don't know the answer but i know the ONE who does..let's take it to Him and ask for His help. sometimes it is scripture that comes to mind (ok, it is almost ALWAYS scripture that comes!!) HIS wisdom, but even then, you have to LISTEN for the still small voice directing you how to encourage, how to admonish, how to help - HIS wisdom.
thank you for this. i needed it.

Rachel and Family said...

What? I didn't hear you. I wasn't listening. I was into my narcissistic inner voice.


The Lord has had me meditating on that verse for quite some time now. ("Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks") You know when a Scripture keeps coming to mind that it is the Holy Spirit!
I've been reading a book about complaining that has shed some light in my life. Especially because Paul will tell me I'm complaining and then I complain about that. See, I just did it again.

Rachel and Family said...

And oh, if we both try to listen to each other, than that could get kind of boring in my book.

Don't get too quiet on me.


Camille said...

Wonderful post Stacie ~ God is infinitely Good to us, isn't He? We definitely are ALL works in progress ~ How WONDERFUL to know that HE promises not to leave us to ourselves. I am a talker by nature and really take these things to heart ~ thanks for the encouragement.


His bondservant said...

Wow, Stacie, how convicting. Keep those wonderful and spiritually uplifting posts coming. We all need to be reminded of them!


J said...

I'm right there with you, sweet friend!

Mich said...

Ouch! Maybe I'm not such a good listener after all...

I really enjoyed this post. thanks for the reminder to "listen."

christy rose said...

You are definitely not alone! Lord, please help us all! :)

Tracy said...

Did you go to cocalico high school in pa. I think I may have been a classmate of yours.

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Ouch! Well, I could find myself in each of those definitions at times. Thank you for sharing this.

Chris in FL said...

LOL!! Ouch!!! Oh I can so relate! Sometimes we talk way to much don't you think? Thanks for sharing your heart.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Sorry, Tracy, not me! I'm from the Northwest corner of America.

Thanks for stopping by, though!

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