Monday, February 15, 2010

Pleasing Words and Listening Barriers

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:15).

I'm continuing to share bits about what God is reminding me and teaching me on how to control my tongue. Most of this is taken from Mary Kassian's Bible study called, "Conversation Peace: The Power of Transformed Speech", a study that I highly recommend from Lifeway Ministries.

According to the Bible, our heart is that part of us that makes us who we are. It is what directs all of our emotions as well as all of our thoughts, intents, and actions.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."- Proverbs 4:23

"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." -Matthew 12:34

Kind, pure words indicate a kind, pure heart. Words that are ugly point to ugliness within. Our hearts represent the ground from which our words spring.

Are you struggling with bad speech? What might be the problem? (See Matthew 12:35)

Ask yourself:

1. Am I surrounded by irritating people who make me angry?

2. Are my circumstances are unbearable?

3. Where my parents were poor role models?

4. Am I tired and overly sensitive?

5. Have I not "stored up" enough good in my heart?

To "store up" means "to collect, accumulate or stock something as a reserve for future use; to lay up or put away." When we speak, particularly in unplanned situations of being irritated, tired, sensitive, or stressed, we reach down into the storehouse of our hearts and bring out what has been stored up over time. Words spring from the ground of our hearts. If we have stored up good in our hearts, our words will be good. If we haven't, or if our stores are meager, we may not have the resources available to speak good, kind and gracious words.

More than half of communicating is listening. Active listening means giving our undivided attention-hearing with our ears, observing carefully with our eyes, and understanding with our hearts.

Listening Barriers:

The average person speaks between 100 to 150 words per minute but thinks up to 600 words per minute. As a result, our minds have a lot of spare time to use while others are talking. Use this time to focus on understanding the speaker's ideas. Otherwise, you will create listening barriers such as:

Running Ahead-thinking about what you are going to say next; planning a rebuttal. (Don't we all do this with our husband's and kids?)

Wandering Off-being pre-occupied,thinking about personal interests, or daydreaming.

Jumping In-interrupting the other person's thoughts to interject your own.

Brushing Away-mentally categorizing the speaker's thoughts as unimportant or insignificant without duly considering them or assuming you already understand his or her perspective.

Do you find yourself doing this as people are talking to you? I am very guilty of "jumping in", and "running ahead".

Ask God to show you if you have a problem with any of these barriers to listening. If the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, confess your sin and ask Him to help you in the area of active listening.

This study is making me much more intentional as I go about my daily life. I've never had much success in the area of listening. I guess I've been too concerned with my own agenda. I am seeing an amazing difference in my marriage and with my relationships with my 11 and 9 year olds.

God is so amazing and I thank Him for His continual working in my life. I'm being refined daily. Even though it is painful at times, I am sort of enjoying this process. Knowing that I'm getting myself into less trouble is a huge motivator! LOL!


Mrs. Lukie said...

Another great post by my mentor ;) Thanks for the reminder, Stacie...this is something I have been diligently working on. Sometimes I manage to do it and other times, I fail miserably--but I am recognizing when I am failing, which is more than I was able to do previously. Slow and steady...

Anonymous said...

This is great. And I must admit I do let those listening barriers get in the way sometimes.

Thanks for sharing this with us and I look forward to more.

Sandra said...

Did you write this post for me??? I especially identified with being surrounded by irritating people. I have been dealing with something like this for a couple of years and always question the decisions I have made. This just reaffirms my convictions and makes me feel secure in my decision. THANKS!!!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I know what you mean about getting into less trouble when we speak less. That should definitely be a motivator to us all! Great post as usual. Can't wait to see you soon, sis!

Cravin' some Twin Time!

Mich said...

great post...

Something I needed to read.

Parsley said...

I've had the same thoughts but not the words to post. Thank you!

Cat said...

Okay, you are ON TO ME! I can't believe that out of the blue I prayed the "may the words of my mouth" prayer this very day as I walked to the store for an onion for my hubby's spaghetti for lunch! And you have done a post including it. I HAVE become more aware of my listening skills as you have shared with us. Thank you, my sweet, sweet friend!

Sarah said...

Stacy!...I too am trying to 'be quiet', as my mouth used to get me in alot of trouble! Its slow and steady progress and just when I think I'm starting to get there, something happens and I utter something harsh at my loving family...*sigh*. Praise the Lord for being SO patient with me.

Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog Stacy. You are a real encouragement to me!

Great Post!

Amy said...

Thank you. You post gave me a lot to think about.

Have a blessed day.

Connie said...

Lots of good thoughts on your post today!

...they call me mommy... said...

What a great post...thanks for the reminder!!

J said...

What a blessing you are to me! Thank you so much for your encouraging words - both in this post and in the comment you left me - and for your response comment from your post about your weekend with your are a blessing to me! And how this post encourages me. I was just talking with my husband about my heart...and how I've not stored up much...and feel rather depleted right now. Thank you for pointing me to Jesus, to the cross, and encouraging me to get my heart right with Him, that my words and willingness to listen might follow. I love you friend!

Tina said...

Wonderful post. I hadn't heard of that Bible study, but it definitely sounds like something that would be very beneficial and wonderful. Thank you for allowing us to glean from what God's showing you. :)
In His love,

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