Listening for Success

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Dear Daughter of Day,

Listening is important.

When most people think about succeeding in life, they think about what actions they need to take to attain success. One action that you as a Daughter of Day must take on this path to purpose is learning to successfully listen. Jesus often said in the scriptures of the New Testament, “He, who has ears, let them hear!” The New Living Translation states it as, “He who has ears should understand and listen.” Hearing ability is something that we have simply because we have ears. Listening is deeper than just hearing by itself. Those who received the most from the teachings of Jesus were those who heard and listened for understanding. In order to understand the scriptures in today’s times, we must read the Word and listen to understand the voice of God behind the scripture to grasp what He wants to say to us directly.

Whether you are building a relationship with God, growing in a relationship or a friendship, in a marriage, starting a business or a college student you should ask yourself this question, “Who do I need to listen to?” This is a key component of effective listening that is often overlooked because we focus the majority of our time on what we should “do” to increase success in relationships or activities. If you are a student, you should identify your professors as people you should listen to while seeking success in college. If you are in a business relationship you should listen to your partners and investors. If you are in a marriage you should listen to your spouse. Listen with an open heart and determine how the information will help you to reach your goals.

What other people have to say who can mentor you, train you, love you or support you will be important to you as a Daughter of Day. God has called you to be a receiver of information. When you need information He will provide it to you through different channels. He is sowing into your life and you are called to be ‘good’ ground.

Effective listening is truly an art, one that needs to be practiced and refined. Listening is not a passive process but it is actually a very active one. To listen effectively you must block out distractions and fully engage yourself as you listen to what is being said to you. The more engaged you are throughout the process of listening the more you will strengthen your ability to take in the information to expand your knowledge. Proverbs 18:15 in the ESV version confirms this when it says, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”

I have developed a scale of listening so that you can critique yourself and determine where you fall between the 4 Levels of Listening.

4 Levels of Listening:

Satisfied Listening-Satisfied listening is listening to others just enough to appease them and make them think they have your full attention. Your posture or brief responses such as “Mmhmm” and “Uh huh” are enough to satisfy them and give them the impression that you are fully taking in what they are saying. If we do not control our thoughts during the listening process we will be pretenders instead of listeners.

Interested Listening-Interested Listening captures your attention a little bit more than Satisfied Listening because you have a personal interest in the subject that is being discussed. Although you are interested in the topic you have not fully cleared your mind to take in everything that is being said to you in the moment and you may only focus on the parts that are interesting to you because of a current or past experience and miss the ‘meat of the matter’ in between. You will notice that when you are interested in what is being said your motivation to hear more will increase.

Committed Listening-Committed Listening requires you to listen and hear the speaker with a clear mind that is not wandering to other subjects. This is an intentional process where you determine to give your individualized attention. You are emotionally prepared for the conversation and you are able to let the speaker know you are listening because of your body posture and frequent responses that have a purpose and reflect their words. You have also found a way to connect to the topic of discussion because of your own personal interest or the interest of someone else that you may share the information with at a later time.

Full Engagement Listening -Full Engagement Listening is the best and most effective listening level. In Full Engagement Listening the listener is truly satisfied because they know you are listening to them because you are making eye contact (if in person). You are leaning in with your body and giving verbal and non-verbal responses that show your interest in what they have to say. Your mind is clear and fully engaged to what they are saying at the moment. You reflect the information and ask thoughtful questions to clarify that you understand the information you are receiving. You are thinking of how you can assist the speaker or how you can apply the information to own life. You are not listening just to talk or give your advice but you are acting a sponge, soaking up what they are saying so you can give feedback when necessary. Your mind is clear throughout the process. A fully engaged listener will take notes when necessary to ensure the information is retained. At this level you will also make sure there are not any external distractions and that everything that could distract you is out of sight and view. You will also make the necessary connections to increase your interest so that you will be motivated to hear more!

When we fully engage in the listening process to those who can mentor us or share wisdom and listen to their guidance, we are lining up with Proverbs 11:14 (ESV). This verse of scripture says “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

As a Daughter of Day, you realize the gift of hearing and the beauty of being connected to others through sound or sign language. God has allowed us to connect and interact with each other through language. Listening is a ‘lifter’. The more we take in through this process the higher we can go because we have been responsive and respectful to someone else. Honor the process of listening. Even if the information does not appear important at the time you may be surprised at how you may need the information at a later date. So engage!

Listening to God is critical to your success. As you listen to Him, lean into His presence. Clear your mind and open your heart to what He has to say. Take paper and pen with you as you connect with Him and write down what you hear Him say. He has a voice! Listen!

Scriptures for meditation:

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “Matthew 4:4 NIV

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame Proverbs 18:13 ESV

Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. Proverbs 19:27 ESV

And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. Mark 4:24 ESV

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