This week as I spent time with local women, two of them shared some painful and difficult things that they are going through. As I listened and asked the Father for wisdom about how to respond, I was reminded that sometimes the best gift we can give someone is just to be a safe place for them to share what's on their hearts. I'm sure each of us has experienced receiving this gift and how it can help lighten our burdens, even if our situation doesn't change.
Later I was reflecting on the importance of learning to listen well. As much as we talk about learning to communicate using stories and other oral-based teaching methods, I think it's also key to learn how to listen as someone shares their stories or situations with us, whether they are serious problems or just about their daily lives. Here are just a few thoughts that came to mind about listening well to others' stories:
- Learn about them: what's important to them, what they value, etc.
- Listen for common themes in different stories that might point to deeper heart needs (what's under the surface in their story?)
- Glean new cultural insights or customs
- How they use expressions to communicate frustration, joy, disappointment, etc.
- Listen for promptings from the Father on responding to what they share