Two Ears and One Mouth

Listening…. Now here’s something we should talk about. It’s been said that we should listen twice as much as we speak. How do we know this to be true? My mom would say because we were created with two ears and one mouth!! I woke up this morning thinking about this topic, and suddenly my mind went to a little song we used to sing in Sunday School:

Of course, we went on to sing about other body parts like eyes, nose, feet, hands, etc., but you get the point. While this song is for very small children, it has a not-so-subtle important message for us. Be careful what we hear and what we speak in response!

The Hebrew word for listen is “shama.” This word appears in the Bible over 700 times! It means to hear, to listen attentively, or to obey. This kind of listening implies that we’re giving our full attention to the speaker. Our most important “listening” should be listening to God. When we listen to God, we are choosing to hear His voice and obey His commands.

God has never stopped speaking to us, but most often we have stopped listening. This verse in Deuteronomy reminds us that He has the authority to command all of Creation to stop and listen to what He is saying.

“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.” – Deuteronomy 32:1

After a rather lengthy defense of himself, Job heard God speak the following:

“Pay attention…and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak.” Job 33:31

Scripture is full of reasons why we should stop speaking so much and listen more. Proverbs 18:13 tells us, “To listen to another person is to gain wisdom.” And Proverbs 19:27 says, “Stop listening to instruction, and you will stray from the words of knowledge!” Notice the connection….

As widows, there is other listening we should do. We need to listen to our bodies. Grief can be exhausting, as your mind works constantly trying to reconcile your new reality with what has been true for many years. Or it may be that you are recovering from being a long-term caregiver, and your body needs some attention, care, and rest. During a season of personal sacrifice (and, yes, neglect), you may have fallen into some bad habits regarding eating, drinking, sleeping, and exercise. Listen to what your body is telling you during this time.

Give attention to the circumstances going on around you. Do you need to make decisions about finances, housing, or vehicles? What family dynamics are going on? Are there friendships or relationships that need attention? Are you isolating or are you finding community with others? These situations all impact your emotional and social well-being, as well as your mental health. Being intentional about staying healthy in all these areas can make the grief journey much easier.

Listen especially to the people who you know love you. Sometimes they will have insights as we walk through the grief process that will be extremely helpful. One friend told me, “Pay attention to the people God brings into your life during this season.” It was one of the most profound pieces of advice I received after Dave’s death. Those new relationships have been significant and have deposited treasures of many kinds into my life.

In another rather inconspicuous scripture verse, we find one of the most important reasons for improving our listening skills:

“Those who listen to Me will live in peace and be free from the fear of evil.” – Isaiah 50:45

Living in peace and being free from the fear of evil. Who doesn’t want that? One of the struggles that is most common to new widows is fear and lack of peace. When we listen carefully for what God says to us, we are promised peace and freedom from fear. Why? Because our God is bigger and more powerful than anything that could ever come against us. Is that reason enough to listen?

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome here or you can email me at sheryl@freshhope.us. If you’re looking for a new purpose and a pathway to move ahead, please consider joining one of our Refocusing Widows groups, either in person or online. We look forward to meeting you!

 

 

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