(If you need to know what this is all about, start with the first post in the series and click through the succeeding links. Also, as posts are added links will be placed in that first post to each one. By the way, please check out the site for the Kelsey Wynne Harris Foundation and help promote the foundation by purchasing any of the Life’s More Interesting products. By the way, unlike the other links in this post, there is no affiliation link here. None of your purchases of these products grease my pockets.)
I don’t even want to go into all the emotional reasons I took a break from this series. However, for those who have been faithful to check back every Wednesday to find out more about “Something Worth Doing” my tribute to Kelsey Harris and her poem, thank you. To those who have been disappointed with their absence. I’m sorry. However, I’m excited to provide you with the next installment. Enjoy.
Today, I Want To…
Listen to Something Worth Hearing
The Sounds of Silence
The world is a cacophony of noise. Everywhere we go, we hear it. We can hardly think in restaurants with televisions blaring, background music bopping, and conversations echoing off the ceramic tile floors. Hop in the car and we usually elect to have the same experience there by turning on the radio. We carry our mp3 players with us so that when it gets too quiet, we can have some noise.
Noise, noise, everywhere but not a sound to listen to. Before you even worry about listening to something worth hearing, you need to get comfortable with silence. Of course, there is no complete silence. You just need to get used to time without artificial noise.
Walk outside, sit in your yard, close your eyes, and listen to God’s creation. Hear birds calling. Hear the distant dog barking. Hear the grass whisper. Hear the leaves cackle. Hear the wind whistle. Have you ever noticed that all that is going on? Let what God has made in this world amaze you. Meditate on your part in it. Notice the noises man is making. Hear the neighbor cutting his grass. Hear the cars travel down the road. Hear the far off plane fly overhead. Hear the neighborhood kids shout as they play ball. Hear a nearby mother call for her children. Have you ever let any of that human activity register? Let what goes on in life impact you. Think of your part in it.
Don’t stop this too quickly. Don’t get impatient thinking you need to get something done. Simply be amazed and sit in humility over your small part of this gigantic world and community. The sound of God’s world and God’s people is worth taking some time to listen to.
Recognize the Worthiness of Those Talking To You
Here is the first key to be able to listen to things worth hearing. SHUT UP! So many of us miss out on what is worth hearing because we won’t stop talking. We want everyone to believe we are worth listening to. Quit making every conversation about you. When your friends are telling you about their frustration, their success, their struggle, their victory, resist the urge to follow it up with, “I know just what you’re talking about, listen to what happened to me.” If you ask someone a question, close your mouth, open your ears and listen to their answer. You might just end up listening to something worth hearing.
This, of course, take a healthy dose of humility. You have to realize that you aren’t the only person in the world who says things worth hearing. This especially takes humility if the one speaking is saying something with which you disagree. You need to understand that worthiness is not based on whether or not it agrees with what you already think. We have to learn to turn off our quick judgment and listen to understand. There have been many cases in which I discovered that what I initially disagreed with was right, I just had to take some time to hear the person out.
In addition to having some personal humility, start granting to others that they are worthy to speak. What your spouse says is worth hearing. What your parents say is worthy hearing. What your kids say is worth hearing. What your co-workers say is worth hearing. What your neighbors say is worth hearing. What your friends say is worth hearing. What your fellow church members say is worth hearing. They aren’t all idiots. They are worthy. That doesn’t mean you have to always agree or accept what they say. It does mean you need to back up and recognize their worthiness to speak. You never know what you might learn and how you might improve when you recognize that you do not have all wisdom and knowledge; these people God has placed around you might just be of some help.
Place Yourself In Situations to Listen to Things Worth Hearing
Too many of us don’t listen to things worth hearing because we hang out in places and relationships where nothing worth hearing is said. Instead, we need to go to places and find people where worthy things are said.
If we watch movies, listen to music, hang out with people that promote immorality, pride, revenge, hate,and other sins, we are only going to listen to things that aren’t worth hearing. However, if we find wise counselors, moral friends, pure music and movies, we have a much better chance for reaching this goal today.
I can’t help but think about Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:11-12. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” Get these situations out of your lives. Turn off the crass comedians. Turn away from those who brag about their sin and wrongdoing. Instead, put yourself with people who say things worth hearing. As the Proverbialist says, wise counselors bring safety and victory (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6).
Let me highlight one specific you need to cut out in order to place yourself in the situation to listen to things worth hearing. Get rid of gossip and slander. If you pursue the juicy tidbit, the speck of dirt, the sordid secret, you aren’t going to listen to things worth hearing. Instead, your going to hear things no one should listen to. Don’t hang out with gossips. If your friends’ favorite words are, “Don’t tell anyone I said this,” you may need to find new friends. Spend time with people who keep their secrets and build others up to their faces and behind their backs. These are the kind of people who say things worth hearing.
Finally, find things worth listening to instead of just trying to be entertained all the time. I love to sing along to the radio as much as the next guy. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if most of your listening time is spent just being entertained, you are missing out on a lot of worthy stuff. If you have an mp3 player, start subscribing to podcasts that will help you be a better person. Sign up to hear sermons from preachers that want to help you spiritually. Purchase audio books to improve yourself. Listen to self-help podcasts. Find trade specific shows that will improve you in your work. Find family related podcasts that will help you at home. Sure, listen to your music sometime, but make sure to let that commute be beneficial, not just entertaining.
Above All Listen to Him Who Is Above All
Recognize that we are not alone in the world. There is a Higher Power who put you here. He does care for you. He wants to help you. Listen to what He has to say. No, I don’t think He will speak to you with an audible voice. However, I do think He will speak to you.
He speaks to you through His Word. His Spirit revealed it so we might know Him. He guides us in all that we need to know and do, equipping us for every good work. He has the wisdom that we do not.
I also think He speaks to you through His other children. Listen to the experience, strength, hope others have to offer. Heed the advice of fellow travelers on the spiritual journey, especially those farther down the road than you. God places these people in our lives for a reason.
Don’t turn your back on what God has to say to you. What He says is the most worthy word to hear.
We hear a lot of things every day. Today lets start filtering some of it. Close your mouth. Open your ears. Listen to understand. Respect others. Listen to something worth hearing.
(Come back next week as we learn about “Teaching Something Worth Learning.”)