Do you remember learning to stop, look, and listen? Of course, you do.
This simple saying has been used across the globe to teach young children how to safely cross the street. Before crossing the street, you should stop a safe distance from the road, look both ways and listen for any traffic; then and only then, you cross the road. These three simple words can be applied in a variety of ways. I was sitting at my desk the other day, and those words ran through my brain. The words caught me off guard, and I realized I needed to pay attention.
I was in some intense fellowship with my wife. Stop, look and listen was what I needed at the moment.
So here we go.
Many consider what to start doing. You must think about what to stop doing! There are many reasons why we should stop stuff. It hit me between the eyes, stop.
Stop the negative spin.
Stop allowing self-talk to hinder your progress.
There are things you should quit and some you shouldn’t. My parents never allowed us to quit. Quitting can become a bad habit and a lifestyle, and we can’t keep running from every challenge. Consistency and perseverance are super-powers in developing strong character. There are other times when quitting is the best choice.
One author said we need to quit:
- Trying to please everyone
- Fearing change
- Living in the past
- Being afraid to be different
- Sacrificing happiness for others
- Thinking you’re not good enough
- Assuming you have no purpose
All of that is excellent advice. Angel Chernoff said, “one of the most powerful moments in life happens when you find the courage to let go of what can’t be changed. Because when you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself — to grow beyond the unchangeable. And that changes everything.”
So what do you need to stop?
Are you afraid to look at your life? Sometimes it’s scary. Especially if there is something awry — an even greater reason to choose the courage to take an inward look.
As in water, face reflects face, So a man’s heart reveals the man. (Proverbs 27:19, NKJV)
Ouch. So take a look at your heart. How is it? Healthy or diseased? Your heart must have high priority. All of life flows through your heart.
God says, “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV)
So look at your heart and see what’s flowing from it.
What is flowing is how it’s going!
Go ahead, look at your heart. OK? Now let’s see where else we can grow and change. Believers are also told to look at the scripture.
“But be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. m(James 1:22–25).”
We are to look into the spiritual mirror — the Word of God. We develop an image of who we are in Christ when we regularly read God’s word. Daily challenges can negatively affect our character and our behavior. The more we look into God’s word, the more we are reminded of God’s promises and see God’s power. Look in the mirror — the mirror reflects our God’s image. Our image is empowered through what we hear and understand from God’s word. People who look into the mirror understand the mirror has a voice, and it speaks back to us!
The mirror reflects what needs to be cleaned up, adjusted, and changed. The mirror also reveals what must be removed and what needs to be added.
OK, so stop, look, and let’s add the finale.’
Why is listening so hard? Because you want to talk, justify, or defend yourself. We love to talk. We must realize that others like to be heard and understood like you.
Julian Treasure believes that “Every human being has to listen consciously in order to live fully.”
Julian’s tips for better listening:
- Pay attention.
- Make little noises like mmm. Nod.
- “So, ….”
- Ask questions.
Listening is problematic because it’s no fun listening to someone you consider less intelligent than yourself. Listening is a struggle because it tests your patience, and you want to get on with your schedule.
I am a typical male — not a good listener. My wife catches that look in my eye that reveals that I am looking but not listening. She calls me out every time, and all I can do is admit my weakness. But of course, from her, this reflects my lack of compassion and concern. I think she’s right.
Dan Rockwall offers 10 powers of a good listener.
- Indicates thought. Smart people look stupid when they solve the wrong problem.
- Displays wisdom. Fools talk. Wisdom listens.
- Expresses interest.
- Shows respect.
- Acknowledges worth.
- Encourages hearts.
- Builds trust.
- Strengthens connection.
- Improves teamwork.
- Advances effectiveness and efficiency.
If listening is that powerful, shouldn’t we work on our listening skills?
A helpful acronym to remember when you’re talking to someone is W.A.I.T., which stands for “Why Am I Talking?”
Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19, ESV)
I think this makes my point.
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