SOME OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE ARE THOSE
WHO HAVE LEARNED HOW TO BE THE HOST IN CONVERSATION.
THEY ARE OTHER-CENTERED.
THEY LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND, NOT TO REPLY.
THEY HAVE MASTERED THE RARE ART OF LISTENING.
WE MUST BECOME “WOMEN OF UNDERSTANDING” WHO KNOW HOW
TO DRAW OUT THE DEEP WATERS OF ANOTHER’S SOUL.
The purposes of a man’s heart is like deep water,
but a man of understanding will draw it out.
WE NEED EARS TO HEAR WHAT IS KEEPING THEM FROM JESUS.
SO OFTEN THE ART OF LISTENING
GOES HAND IN HAND WITH
THE ART OF HOSPITALITY.
JESUS DIDN’T HAVE A HOME,
BUT STILL, HE PRACTICED HOSPITALITY.
HE MADE A BREAKFAST ON THE BEACH
AND INVITED PETER TO JOIN HIM.
HE TOLD ZACCHEAUS,
“I’M COMING TO YOUR HOUSE TODAY.”
HE BROKE BREAD WITH THE TWO ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
AND THEIR EYES WERE OPENED
WHAT I’VE LEARNED THAT IS GOLDEN,
IS TO INVITE A FRIEND TO LUNCH
WITH THE GOAL OF LISTENING TO HER HEART
DAVID AUGSBERGER SAYS:
I ALSO LOVE TO INVITE A FEW NON-CHRISTIANS WHO SHARE SOMETHING IN COMMON AND A FEW CHRISTIAN FRIENDS
INTO MY HOME FOR A SIMPLE MEAL.
THEN I ASK THEM TO TELL ME THEIR STORIES.
(Everyone has a story.)
OR I E-MAIL A FEW SIMPLE QUESTIONS AHEAD OF TIME FOR THEM TO PONDER.
(I’ll share some gems.)
I’VE GOT GAMES READY IN CASE IT FLOPS,
BUT I HAVE YET TO SEE IT TRULY FLOP.
INSTEAD, THERE IS USUALLY LAUGHTER, VULNERABILITY, AND BONDING.
GREAT GRATITUDE IS EXPRESSED WHEN THEY LEAVE.
I REMEMBER ONE MAN TELLING ME,
“This was one of the loveliest evenings I’ve ever experienced.”
Listening is an art.
Few people are good at it.
But in Christ we can be.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
We cannot love in our own strength, but when we consider how Christ loved us, our hearts of stone begin to turn to hearts of flesh.
2. In Philippians 2:1, Paul gives four “if’s” to remind us of ways Christ has loved us. Take one of those “if’s” and give an illustration of how Christ has loved you. (This is a bit of a challenge — so I will start and you can follow.)
The 3rd is “any participation in the Spirit.” I’ve been working with my wonderful editor Elisa on my book —
and together, because we both have His Spirit, we are better at honing this book. There is a thrill in sensing
the presence of God guiding us together.
The 4th if is “any affection and sympathy” — It overwhelms me when I sense His “affection” because I am a
woman who repeatedly fails Him, but so often He is the one, because of His affection for me (can it be?)
who helps me out of the very messes i made. He brings to my remembrance where I put the keys I cannot
find, He grants me grace with a friend I hurt…
3. Because of these things, what does Paul ask of us in Philippians 2:2-4?
4. How could you apply verse 4 to the art of listening?
5. What wisdom do you find concerning the art of listening from Proverbs 10:19?
6. What are some ways you might obey Proverbs 20:5 with non-Christians?
A Ted’s Talk and A Conversation Assignment
Though this is a secular talk, and you may need to show grace, I do believe you will be a better listener if you listen to her and share something that stood out to you.
7. What stood out to you and why?
The following is a list of questions that might help you in drawing out others. If I am having people over (for a dinner party or just popcorn or dessert) I will e-mail a couple out ahead of time so they can be thinking about them. Though I don’t say this, they are based on the big story of the Bible: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration
Creation: Share a childhood memory that played a part in shaping the person you are today
Fall and Redemption: Share a trial you went through and also something you learned from it.
Restoration: What are some hopes you have for the rest of your life?
8. Challenge: We are going to spend two weeks on listening — and this week or next I’d like you to really practice this art with the people in your path and perhaps plan a get together with more planned sharing. Let us know by the end of next week what you have done or at least planned!
9. What is your take-a-way and why?
7. TED talk ~ What stood out to you and why?
I agree with Jackie ~ this is not to be missed. Riveting. Challenging. Celeste Headlee gives several practical things to do when engaging in conversation and particularly how to listen well. She gives ten basic rules and suggests that if you do any one of them, you will be amazed. One nugget she stated was: ” True listening involves setting aside one’s self.” This involves what Christ tells us to do. Forget about ourselves, deny ourselves. When and if I do that, I choose humility (which is not natural). Her whole approach encourages humility.
7. TED talk. It is excellent. I think I’m also going to share this with my pastor who is leading our face to face study on peaceful conversations. Maybe she will decide to use it sometime there too. There really is so much to draw from it. Susan did such a good job writing notes (thank you! I am going to copy and print the 10 points so I can keep as a reference) but here are a few things that really stood out to me.
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t” ~Bill Nye~
That one hit me hard. In a very personal way. We’ve had a friend of my husband’s staying with us for the past month (part of the time he was out of state on a job) and honestly, though we’ve known him for years…..and my husband has been a mentor to him, I have never really felt like he had anything to teach me. I’ve always stayed ‘doing my own thing’ while the two of them talked or worked together. But, clearly….I never gave him that chance. I am trying to be more intentional about joining in the conversation at times, or just asking him a few questions and I really have been amazed at some of the stuff he knows and has experienced. I can so be ‘that person who walks on the other side of the street to avoid someone’ and I need to quit that and use some of the strategies she outlined. I love that she said that even if you master just one of them, you will make great gains in conversation. That gives one an attainable goal from which to build.
Another very helpful point was that lots of stories and facts come in our minds as we listen. Let them come and then let them go.
Stay fully present.
I have definitely broken every ‘rule’ here that she outlined but I see growth is some areas. I know I need to work on many others. VERY helpful information.
Did I miss the presenter’s name? Does anyone know?
OH……now I see that Nila named the presenter in the comment above. THANKS!!
It is Celeste Headlee. So glad you liked it — so helpful!
I’ve thought about people I know who are good listeners this week to try to emulate what they do. Believe it or not, one is my gynocologist!! I have been her patient for about 10 years now and have given her name to my friends because I like her so much. I never really knew what it was about her that I liked, but now I realize that she is a listener! How do I know this? Her body language for one… When you speak she stands close to you and really looks you in the eye. Sometimes she might take my hand (so sweet). She never makes me feel like she doesn’t have time; there is no rushing through to get to the next appointment. In fact, I learned that she only takes patients until 1:00 because she wants to be with her teenage kids when they come home from school. I don’t get the feeling she is “in it” for the money. She is the reason I went to a breast “specialist;” she listened to me and realized that my mom had cancer and she wanted me to have the best doctor “just in case.” That specialist is the reason we detected my cancer early. Just thought I would share.
Laura – your story of your listening Dr. gives me chills. Oh my goodness – what an analogy I see here in your story ….the comparison between a listening Dr and physical health and a listening believer and spiritual health…perhaps even the difference between life and death! What a wonder that our God invites us to participate in HIS great Story (the Gospel!) in such a way…..it just is beyond our understanding. 🙂 GREAT example, Laura!
Laura! I so relate with you! My primary doctor is one of the best listeners I have ever met. Even though she has to turn sideways to get to the computer(darn technology!) I always, I mean always, feel like I have her full attention. She is also is good at listening for the message behind the message. No wonder she has several awards for being the doctor of the year at the hospital where she works at!
And also case in point here. When Celeste mentioned one of the rules as “go with the flow” what I just typed here (though Laura and I are not in conversation face to face) When she mentioned “gynecologist” my mind already presumed what she was going to say and I was in the “reply” mode already. Ugh! Guilty! I was not really “listening”. (Celeste’s Hugh Jackman illustration). forgive, forgive me…I can tell this might be first one of the rule I need to take to heart and practice. Go with the flow.
I liked the presenter in the video. I realized that I do use a few of her suggestions already. also, some of them I know to do but just have trouble doing. I will practice this.
I’m trying to figure out just who I would invite to my house for a meal though…any ideas on how to make a guest list Dee?
Laura , I am not Dee….BUT……I just think that Dee’s words here on the blog are instructive: “I also love to invite a few non-Christians who share something in common and a few Christian friends into my home for a simple meal.” There you go – straight from Dee!! I really feel like you maybe have laid the groundwork so well by openly sharing your faith as you can in your school…..maybe a teacher friend or two? The piece that Dee added about “a few Christian friends” can be very crucial too. Maybe even if you have a Christian woman that you don’t know well, but would LIKE to know better? Great opportunity there too! Remember how Dee had us write out “Open my eyes Lord” a couple of weeks ago? I guess we all need to encourage each other to just make that our DAILY prayer for all the rest of our lives! I just prayed for you Laura, that He would help you to see who He has for you in this. 🙂
Jackie and Laura, it so happened that our Sunday School material for tomorrow is about inviting people for a home meal. I struggled on who to invite. But just like what you said here, Jackie, pray. And that is what I will do. My husband and I have been so busy lately that inviting somebody to our home these days is hard to come by because of time constraints. So I am praying for both of us.
I do belong to a group called PEO and we had a new member a couple months ago join us. I invited her to my house for an “introduce the newbie to the oldies” 🙂 and we had the most fun! I have a set of cards of conversation starters that we picked and went over. What fun and camaraderie! They stayed for 3 hours!!!!! There were at least 2 non-Christians among us. So this topic this week is so timely for me. I am glad we are doing it for two weeks, Dee.
Bing! what a great example this is! Love your idea of conversation cards–and that you had 2 non Christians who stayed 3 hours! : )
Bing – your evening sounds delightful!! Your deep warmth has always transmitted so well here on the blog…..and I’m certain set the tone for your evening of fun and comraderie! Conversation cards…..hmmmm……
Lizzy, I do remember the warmth of developing friendships that night. And I wish I could do it more often. And take these opportunities as an offering of gratitude to the One who loves us so and to point others to the greatest host of all. For after all, Jesus did say if we invite Him in, he will come in and “sup” with us! 🙂
Bing – I wonder in my own life if my “wishes” to do something might really be His Spirit putting that desire in my heart…….and if so, HOW to see it happen? For me that has often meant paring down my activities in light of His call on my life in another direction…..your words kicked off that pondering in my mind….but here I go with “me, me, me!!!….”……I will simply pray for you to have more opportunities to be the host in conversation wherever He leads you! 😉 (Have you ever seen the oh so funny “Me Monster” that Brian Regan [a “clean” comedian!] did several years ago? I’m going to have to look that one up…….)
9. What is your take-a-way and why?
I think perhaps it is that the art of listening, of being the host in conversation, is so very feasible and accessible for us all! That it is rooted in Christ’s love for me truly DOES warm my heart and spirit toward others …..and this has stuck with me in multiple conversations this past week! I was shocked to realize how complacent I have become….how I multitask in my mind continually instead of truly being where I am! The Philippians 2 passage convicted me deeply and moved me toward repentance of my sinful ways in thinking more of my own thoughts than of the precious souls right in front of my face. Invaluable take-a-way!
The Ted talk is great and I want to practice this. I realize how often I multitask in my head instead of giving undivided attention. Ugh…
Yes , how important to be interested in the other person. How basic yet how selfish I seem as I listen to these 10 points.
Yes, this is a basic Christian teaching to have humility and how far I get from esteeming others above myself.
This is a lesson that is needed. Then I do remember times when the points are ones I have followed.
What a good application to Philippians 2, Shirley. These points could so be adapted to be used with scripture. I hadn’t thought of that. 🙂
7. Was able to listen to the TED talk last night. Very good insights. It did cross my mind, though, that if two people who are both trying to implement these principals get together for a conversation, there would be lots of silence. 😉 But really, the art of conversation is being lost, for sure. For some reason I find certain people easier to truly listen to (in a fully engaged way) than others and I think it is partly due to one point she brought out: no need to share every minute detail (copious dates, times, etc..) I think we women are bad about that because we feel like we have to “set the whole story up” THOROUGHLY before getting to the point. I’m definitely guilty of that. I’m going to pray that the Lord transforms this area of my life so that my conservations are more worthwhile and of more eternal value. I need to do more listening and, when I do speak, make it count.
I giggled at your first thought, Mary. (that would make a funny skit actually!) I suspect, that a lot of what Celeste was talking about was when someone comes to us and has something they need to; want to share with us. But these principles do apply to any conversation. 🙂 I am SO guilty of the ‘details’. It’s my whole nature to remember and document details of life….and it comes out too much when I converse.
The TED talk is EXCELLENT I caught a few of my errors right off the bat. Sharing my own stories. not being present, my mind wandering with thoughts and not going with the flow. thank you Dee for the excellent materials you share with us.
I have had some great conversations and listening experiences with people these last few weeks I feel as if I have been on a great adventure and have been AMAZED! God does show up and HE IS AMAZING
The power of prayer and seeking the Lord prior to my conversations with people has been so important to me. I find His Holy Spirit has been drawing things out in conversations with me having no part in that except I get to be there to listen and watch it all happen and the deep conversation I was longing for begins. That has been amazing!!! I just want to keep being willing and alert and ready with GOOD listening ears putting others needs before my own.
Thanks Jackie and Bing for the good discussion on inviting others to our homes. I am definitely going to try this out!