Too Driven to Listen (by Len Winneroski)

My wife is an excellent listener. I’ve noticed over the years that when people find the rare person like my wife, who actually listens to them, they latch onto those people and seek them out often. If you think about it, people get advanced degrees in psychology so that they can become professional listeners. Their job is to listen to people so that they can help them discover the deep-rooted issues from their past that are leading to the issues in their lives. Discovering the root cause of the things behind our phobias, depression, anxiety and emotional imbalance is the first key step on the path back to mental health and wholeness.

I hear almost everything that people tell me. God has given me the ability to file it all away into a mental vault for future use. I use this information that I hear, what people’s dreams are, what they love and what they hate, what they do for a living, to connect people. It brings me extreme joy when I can connect someone who needs help in some area of their life with someone else who is an expert in that field. This is an amazing gift that God has given me, but it comes at a cost when you can’t shut the gift down. Ultimately I want to connect people with Jesus because Jesus is the solution to every problem that we have in our lives. What I need to do though is move from hearing people to actually listening to them.

I am a horrible listener. My wife will be the first to tell you that I am an extremely driven man. I have such a desire to help everyone around me that I push myself to exhaustion. To be honest, I usually don’t leave enough Len in the tank at the end of the day to give to the the people closest to me.

As I am getting older I am realizing that just because you have a gift doesn’t mean that you need to use it 100% of the time. I’m having a harder time keeping up with myself and I think that God is showing me that I need to slow down a little bit and develop other Spiritual gifts like listening.

You can’t hurry and listen at the same time. The ability to multitask at work is great, because productivity is king, and you are being paid for results, but why do we think that multitasking at home is king too? Is multitasking the best way to also manage our lives outside of work? I know that my wife doesn’t truly feel listened to when I am hearing her, but am also trying to encourage or connect someone else on my phone at the same time. Enough is enough, I have a problem, and I have a feeling that I’m not alone.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus didn’t say come to me all who are lazy and I will show you how to multitask so that you can get more done in the Kingdom for me. He didn’t say stay on top of the latest technology so that you can extend your influence and impact the Kingdom more efficiently. He didn’t say push yourselves until you can’t push yourself anymore, because God loves the hardest worker and most productive person in the room the most.

Have you ever thought about what Jesus was actually like in the flesh? My family has been watching the Chosen series and I highly recommend it! Nobody knows what Jesus was really like when he walked the earth in sandals, but I think that the portrayal of Jesus in that series is probably not too far off base. I have a feeling that if Jesus had a cell phone back in the day, he wouldn’t be texting someone else at the same time someone was talking to Him. I wonder if people would have called him a slacker because He was always late for appointments because He was never in a hurry. I bet that He was fully present with whoever he was with.

I know that those who know me the best would not use the words “always present” and “an excellent listener” to describe me. What about you? Are you fully present to your spouse, your children, your parents, and your friends when they need you? Something to think about….

Dear Lord, forgive us when we have been so busy helping people that we forgot to simply love and listen to them. Please give us ears to hear and eyes to see so that we can be more useful tools in your Kingdom for your glory, and your glory alone. Fill us children with your Holy Spirit and help us to develop the fruits of self-control and patience, which are the two fruits that are often the last fruits of the Spirit to be developed in our lives. Teach us to listen like Jesus listened. Thank you for the people in our lives who listen well. Help us to learn from them and become better listeners too.

3 thoughts on “Too Driven to Listen (by Len Winneroski)

  1. Love this. Thanks for the reminder. Can’t remember who said it to me years ago, “Sherry, slow down, your epitaph will read – Gee I could have worked one more day”. Even in retirement I find myself stretched.

  2. Good insights Len! I heard a speaker remind us that Jesus accomplished all he needed to do, even without a website or social media account. It’s the one to one interaction that people need more than anything else. To be accepted, heard, and loved! Keep looking up!

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