Sometimes I struggle in this journey called life. There are times when I am afraid or angry. Times when I am doubtful or depressed. And then there are those times when I have so many feelings clamoring for attention that I can’t even name them. And in those times what I need most is for someone to simply listen to me. I am often left disappointed. And even more alone. If, indeed, listening is an art, I am convinced it is a lost art.
So allow me to offer this challenge: Listen. Just listen.
- I don't need to know what you would do if you were me.
- I don't need you to remind me that other people are much worse off than I am.
- I don't need you to quote Scripture to me.
- I don't need you to tell me not to be so sensitive.
- I don't need you to invite me to your church or Bible study.
- I don't need you to tell me I shouldn't feel that way.
- I don't need you to remind me that God is good all the time.
- I don't need you to judge me.
- I don't need you to blow me off with an, I'll pray for you.
- I don't need you to tell me to just get over it, to put it behind me, or to pick (my)self up by the bootstraps.
I just want you to listen.
You may not know it, but when you listen to me--truly listen--you give me value. You make me feel that I matter; that I am deserving of your full attention; that I am worthy of your time. When you listen, you not only hear my pain you enter into it. I not only feel understood, I feel accepted. And I don't feel so alone.
So when I’m hurting please remember, I’m not looking for solutions, strategies, or spiritual soundbites. I simply need someone to listen. That is where I will find the strength, courage, and healing to go on.