I heard about this whole “One Word” thing, where you pick your one Inspiring Focus Word for the new year, a couple years ago. First year, I didn’t pick one in advance, but discovered what it needed to be as I went. That year it was BALANCE. I continued with that word last year too, as it still applied and I needed to work on it in more areas.  This year I have chosen a new inspiring word. One I have recently noticed I really need to focus on. My word for 2020 is LISTEN.
Why LISTEN? I’ll tell you. I have been learning a lot about communication this year especially, since it is the first time we have had hubby home after prison for a full year and no worries about him leaving any time soon. I learned quite a bit about communicating concisely when he was in prison, with 15 minute phone calls, that was a necessity! Now I am learning how to communicate better in more “normal” circumstances. It requires a whole lot less talking than you might think! 
Listening is a skill that needs to be developed, and that requires practice. As a woman, and an empathetic person at that, it does not come natural to me to be quiet for long. I feel like I have to fix, and usually that looks like giving good advise – even when its not asked for. This doesn’t really work well. It doesn’t let the other person know that they have been heard – even if we are talking about what they said. It doesn’t give them the safe place we intend to give either. When we keep talking we are actually making it more about us and pushing people farther away.
To be a good listener, we first have to practice shutting our mouths – we cannot hear if we are talking! It is so hard sometimes, and can feel like your heart will burst out of your chest if you don’t say what “needs to be said”. It is a physical pain! Truly. The more you can practice keeping your mouth shut, the more you will be able to truly listen and understand others better. 
Eventually it will be easier and easier to simply be quiet. Once you get to that point you will begin to see just how many times the one you are listening to actually gets what they need from you, and is able to truly be heard. Too many times we run ahead with our thoughts and if we let it come out of our mouths we show just how little we are really listening. We assume too much and therefore are not a help where we intend to be. 
I cannot tell you how many times my husband has said to me ” you aren’t listening!” And I have said the same to him. Guess who’s right?! Both of us! Neither one of us have been listening well. We have been waiting our turn to talk instead. Once I started simply keeping my mouth shut and waiting to see what he was going to say if I simply let him continue and truly listened I saw that I was completely misunderstanding him before. He comes at things a different way than I do, and so if I stop him to respond to or “help fix his thinking” it goes in a totally different direction. When I let him finish his thought process, he generally comes around to where I can see that we are actually in agreement. Argument averted!

👆click for free communication download
So, I have chosen LISTEN as my Inspiring Focus Word for 2020 because I want to create more connection this year. Listening is the best way to do that.

 Be sure to keep an eye out for my e-book in the new year! It is full of what I have learned about taking conflict and using it to make connections instead of letting it create division. Communication skills are the key – Listening being the biggest part! Come dive into it with me!

Leave a comment and let me know, what will your Inspiring Word be this year!?
 Why did you choose that one?
Check back next week to see my NOT WORD!😉 (thanks for the idea Jodi!)
Don’t worry, I’ll explain… Next Week!

2 Comments

Chrissie · January 4, 2020 at 9:57 pm

Oh how I needed to read this. ” Too many times we run ahead with our thoughts and if we let it come out of our mouths we show just how little we are really listening. We assume too much and therefore are not a help where we intend to be.“. This…. well it’s me.

I’ve been convicted over the last year or so about being quiet and listening, and I don’t feel like I’ve made much progress, I run off at the mouth, all the time, and I walk away feeling foolish time and time again. Thank you for showing me how by doing so I am “assuming” the things and thoughts the other person has to say. That’s terrible and it is something I never want to do 😔 Your message has brought revelation to me on this issue, I am truly grateful. I needed this kick in the pants. I look forward to reading more of your posts and seeing how listening is lived by you this year. I thank the Lord for bringing you into my life. 🙏🏼

Blessed mess · January 4, 2020 at 10:41 pm

I am so glad to hear that this post helped you!

It has been a long hard road learning this for me. We have had so many big yucky fights because we weren't listening to each other!

I look forward to hearing how the Lord continues to work in your life this year.

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