If you are maturing, you realize there are probably many who do not listen to you at all, and you are probably okay with that. If you are truthful, you often wonder who really cares what you have to say and ask, “How can I communicate better?”
For those of us who have had teenagers, we understand there is a time that they do not listen to the voice of age and reason. Their hormones are whacked out and their ears and little brains shut down when an adult opens their mouth to speak.
For those of us who were once teenagers,
we remember those days and say things like, “If only I had listened!”
For over 35 years I have been preaching and teaching, and have thousands of messages that document my history of speaking. For over 10 years I have taught college courses in banking, IT and ministry. For 7 years I have been blogging, sometimes not faithfully following a schedule, but through the past several years it’s been an almost daily event. For over 40 years I have been an “adult” with a maturing process of words and things to says.
Many have heard, or read my work, one way or another.
My blog has occasional readers from all around the world. I’m surprised when someone in Dubai, Hong Kong or Saudi Arabia clicks on my blog – but then I’m sure they are not really there to read and are running a key word search and they happen to land on my blog, among many other sites. I am surprised when someone actually leaves a comment at my blog. It normally means we are not connected via any other social media, and this is the best way to drop a piece of mail my way.
Through the years I have not always communicated an intentional message, following a pattern of words that takes someone on a journey. I learned yesterday that many want intentional information, like a carpenter needs a blueprint, or a traveler needs a map, or a programmer needs a flowchart.
I know I want concrete information! I listen to voices that give me solid actions and steps to take, rather than those big ideas, or random tips and tricks. So, I have voices that I tune in to, authors, pastors, teachers, coach’s and guru’s. All to help me be a better “me” and find better steps, processes, systems, and avenues to consider.
But in the midst of all the noise, I have often found the best time of listening comes when there is no sound competing for my attention. It’s an internal, still, small, voice… Some may say it’s my consciousness. Other’s simply say I’m ruminating through the ether of my mind, trying to tune in to some line of thought…much like that old Crystal Radio dad and I assembled by in the early 60’s. I still don’t understand how it worked, but if you listened closely you may be able to tune in to a particular radio station with those ancient earplugs.
You have to listen closely.
And that’s what I’m thinking about today. You have to listen closely so you can understand better what’s being said. Depending on the voice, you may even have to “read between the lines” to get the subtilty of the message. Sometimes it’s difficult to simply understand the nuances of the spoken, or written, word.
So how do you determine what someone is truly saying? How do you understand who is listening to what you have to say?
We all know this to be the truth, but it is better that we lay it on the table and think about it. When a message is being communicated, we observe what the speaker does, and determine if their actions line up to the words that are coming out of their mouth. Sort of like using a plumb bob to see if you have built something straight and level using a simple weight and string to line up what you did, with what you planned…what you do, with what you said…
“Actions speak louder than words” and “Actions have consequences” – both valid statements allowing us to determine if the speakers action are lined up to their words…
The spirit of these words can be attributed to many throughout the years [Source] but it really finds roots in the epistle of St John…
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18 NKJV)
Words matter, but actions show the truth of our words. People may hear one thing, and see another. In other words, the answer to the question, “Who’s listening?” may not have anything to do with the words you speak, but rather the things that you do.
I believe people “watch and learn” better than simply “sitting and listening”. Of course, this is applicable via our own personal learning styles. [Read here from my blog post: 4 Little Things] Some need to hear, others read, some watch, and others need to do. We all learn differently… True?
Well, the Apostle Paul dealt with this same concept in my favorite epistle to the Philippians. And I’ve written about this recently. [Source]
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV)
The things which you have learned, received, heard and saw in me… (all the learning styles!) … Do. Yes… Your actions are probably the most visible sound your words can communicate. Do well, and let your actions be exactly what your words have spoken.
Some are listening to what you do, more than what you say!