Becoming a Better Listener

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It has been a while since I posted last, and life has been crazy. This summer we had a baby, graduated with various degrees, and moved from South Dakota to Colorado! It has been quite the adventure. It has been hard to leave friends and family behind, but we know that today’s sufferings will strengthen us for the success we will have in the future. For me, getting my first “real world” job has been quite the learning experience. Callie and Leo are also settling in with school and daycare; everything is coming together nicely. By now you may be asking yourself how is this related to listening?


If you have known Callie and I for any amount of time you know how analytical and indecisive we are, especially given our math and engineering backgrounds. We debated a lot about where would be the best place for us and our little family since we knew Leo was on the way. Throughout this process we truly came to realize the importance of listening, especially to God.


Along the way we had three main places we considered living - Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Boulder. Believe it or not, our first choice originally was Kansas City - we loved the university and city. The funny part is that it was during our trip to Kansas City last September that we found out we had a baby on the way which change everything. We felt so blessed with such a wonderful gift (and a little overwhelmed) and this definitely was God beginning to speak to us.


Then the listening game started. We talked to family and friends to hear what they thought about our options. During all of this I truly learned the importance of listening. People have very different opinions and sometimes it is hard to listen when you do not agree with them. The beautiful part is that if you come to these conversations thinking they know something you don't, the listening becomes more interesting as you are looking for that piece of information. The past year has been all sorts of crazy. There was a lot of learning. If you haven’t figured out, the only way you can learn is by listening. The more you talk the less you can listen to what others have to say, and you are missing a big opportunity to learn by doing so.


We can learn so much by just listening. I have learned this is in so many ways. Think about your conversation with God. Do you ever wonder why you can’t hear Him? I once heard a priest saying that the only way we can hear God speaking to us is by being really really quite. We must learn how to be quiet and be willing to listen to God’s plan. The more we speak, the less we can listen.


As you may know by now, we moved to Boulder this summer, and we could not be more happy. We have met some incredible people here and have visited incredible places. We truly believe we made the right decision and this was thanks to listening and trusting God’s plan for us.


From all of this craziness I had four takeaways:


     - Humility starts with listening

     - We must earn the right to talk by first learning how to be great listeners

     - Our days should be spent mostly listening

     - The more we learn to be silent, the more time we have to learn


Listening is a very tough skill to master, but once you realize how important it is, your life will become more meaningful. I am not saying I know it all, but being more careful when I am listening to other people has changed the way I approach many conversations. Remember, there are many things you don’t know and the person in front of you always has something that they can teach or share with you.


Hope you guys learned something from this post, and don’t forget to let me know how are you practicing your listening in the comments below!

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