Quick to Hear

I’m a words person.  I consider it my love language and I think I’m pretty good at expressing my feelings in words. 

I love a good card or a note of encouragement and affirmation.  The thing about liking words is that I also like to say them, and I have a lot of them to say!  I come from a family of loud and talkative women and I’ve always seen this trait as something that defines us.  Unfortunately, always having something to say can often be a reflection of a self-centered heart.  If I’m always talking, then I’m probably not doing a very good job of listening.  James 1:19-20 recently gave me an uncomfortable reminder about the effects of my chattering tongue.

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:  You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” 

Quick to hear.  Slow to speak.  Slow to get angry.

If I’m talking, I’m not listening.  If I’m not listening, then I’m more apt to get angry.  When I am angry, I am not producing the righteousness that God desires.  It’s a spiraling effect that begins with speaking too quickly and it’s something that I have been guilty of more often than I would like to admit.

As an ezer, why is it important to quiet my mouth (and my mind and my heart)? Because I can’t possibly be inviting when what I have to say is more important than what someone else has to say.  I can’t nurture my children if it doesn’t involve listening.  I can’t partner with my husband when I’m only concerned with what I have to bring to the table.  And I can’t humble myself and find forgiveness and grace when I’m wronged if I’m too busy telling myself how right I am.  The beauty of listening is that it forces you to step back and remove yourself, which provides a less self-centered perspective.  Being quick to listen requires discipline, but as an ezer, it is essential that I understand how to listen before I speak.

In what areas do you need to be quick to listen and slow to speak? How is a chattering tongue preventing you from living out your calling as an ezer?   

– Natalie Patterson, Spartanburg