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Show love by listening without interrupting

Ruth Lilley has been reflecting on the way we listen to others, and shares her thoughts with us here.

A way to love is to listen without interrupting. Surely this goes without saying because if I interrupt someone, I must then stop listening to them. I am not sure it is possible to talk and listen at the same time. However, if I am considering how I can show love to someone by listening to them, I believe listening becomes more than just waiting for our turn to talk. 
When I want to show the children that I am listening to what they are saying, my actions are intentional. I stop what I am doing and they become my focus. Sometimes I will bend down so we are on the same level. They then see that what they are saying is important to me and worthwhile. The children have sought me out to share something with me, therefore I should listen without being interrupted by the washing up or the cooking of the tea or the answering of a text message. 
If you love someone, you value who they are, what they do, the things they say. In valuing the words, sentences, crazy thoughts my children share with me, I show love. In valuing the words and conversations my friends and family share with me, I show love. 
For me, to listen without interrupting involves more than just words. To not interrupt allows someone to share, knowing they will be heard. It means words can be shared where there is calm and not conflict. To listen without interrupting involves putting someone else's needs before my own. To not interrupt allows someone to be encouraged, supported and possibly uplifted. It means words can be shared and relationships can flourish. 
To listen without interrupting takes effort and practice. I have to remind myself that this conversation will only happen once and however many times I might replay the conversation in my mind, if I say the wrong thing, I cannot take it back.  Or if I choose not to listen it is likely I will not get the opportunity to hear those words again. 
This involves a change of mindset, as I do not always find it easy to put someone else's needs above my own. I often feel that what I have to say is more important, when really it is not. 
Each new day brings so many possibilities of listening without interrupting. I hope I will be mindful enough to grasp those possibilities and to do my part to value, encourage, uplift and most of all, to love.
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." James 1 : 19 (NIV)

The image above is courtesy of Pixabay.com



ruth starkings 150CFRuth Lilley is the family worker at Meadow Way Chapel in Hellesdon. She also enjoys writing, and writes a regular blog called ‘With Every Sun Comes A New Day.’

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