I've been reading a book called "Coaching 101".
Although I haven't finished this book yet, one thing which keeps coming through is the point on how important it is to listen.
When I picked up the book originally, I thought "great, now I can learn how to help people and give them advice and coach them through their problems etc", but the book actually emphasizes NOT to give advice, but to simply listen and ask questions.
Wow. I thought a coach was someone who had all the answers. I thought they were a person who people came to because they were skilled in life and knew a whole heap about dealing with relationships and problems.
Not so. The book says to simply come alongside someone. To listen to them. To ask them questions that eventually lead them to figure things out on their own!
Man I wish I had read this book five years ago. I remember trying to lead a smallgroup of teens once a week. I had to throw in the towel and pass the group over to someone else as I was too overwhelmed. I believed that being a leader you needed to be able to answer all the hard questions and be a step ahead of those you were leading. How wrong was my thinking.
I must say that I think every smallgroup leader should read this book! It has taken so much pressure off of my shoulders to know that I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to have a brain full of knowledge and wisdom to lead a group or help some friends through difficult decisions.
When was the last time someone sat down with you and just listened to you? How did it make you feel? Valued? Loved? And when was the last time you listened to somebody without jumping in with your advice or finishing their sentence?
A challenge isn't it?
Sometimes all people need is someone to listen to them. And often their problem doesn't seem too big anymore. I love that saying, "A problem shared, is a problem halved." So incredibly true.
My next question is, when was the last time you listened to God? Have you sat down with Him and just listened for a bit, or has your mouth rattled off a list of complaints or frustrations that you've been feeling?
I love the passage of scripture where Jesus takes His three disciples up the mountain and God overshadows them. Jesus is transfigured and Moses and Elijah appear. Peter immediately gets up and wants to build three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah when suddenly God's voice interrupts him and says, "This is my beloved Son, HEAR Him!"
I know that I can get so caught up in life's busyness. My hands seem full of service and chores. My mind pre-occupied with the next three tasks at hand. My emotions stirred in many directions.
I want to do so much for God and that may be your heart's desire too. The best thing for us is to hear Him. How do we learn about someone and get to really know them? By listening to them. It's then that we discover their biggest dreams, their desires, their heart.
If you have ears then let them hear...
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