April McGowan

Don’t Speak

Don't SpeakDo you find it hard not to offer advice or try to fix things—not to speak when someone is in need? I have to admit, I’m a reformed fixer. And if you know me personally, you know I love to talk!

In the past year, I’ve had the privilege to sit in silence next to friends and even a stranger here or there. In December, I was on the phone with a gal in customer service at my internet provider who really needed someone to listen to her. She mentioned it was the first Christmas for her and her kids since their divorce. She went on to tell me about their new apartment, their plans for the holidays, and how things were hard, but going better than she expected. She must have shared with me for fifteen minutes (I hope they weren’t recording THAT call for quality assurance). After a while, she apologized for keeping me so long, but I told her it was okay, and I hoped she’d have a wonderful Christmas. After I hung up, my daughter came by my desk and asked who I’d been talking to. I told her I didn’t know and she gave me the strangest look!

In other times this past year, I’ve had close friends sharing tough times or experiencing deep grief. In those instances as well, the best thing to do was for me to stay silent and listen, holding their hand and offering to pray with them.

When I was a kid, we’d drive past farmland with rows of trees and bushes planted. If I tried to see them all, they’d be this big blur. But when I focused on one at a time, I could see the straight rows they were planted in, and the pathways in-between. Slowing down to listen is like that. And oftentimes, when we are listening, God will speak to our hearts about how we can best be there for others.

James 1:19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…(full text here)

6 Comments

  1. Kim Counts
    Feb 17, 2013

    You are a very wise woman, April McGowan! And I’m proud to call you my friend! <3

  2. Marriott Cole
    Feb 17, 2013

    Great ideas, April! I am striving to be a better listener. Thanks!

    • Gloria Solstad
      Feb 18, 2013

      I love God’s divine encounters. They are all around us every day, we just have to listen close to who those precious people are that just need someone to listen to them.

  3. Carrie
    Feb 18, 2013

    Beautiful visual at the end. Great words of wisdom on listening. I wholeheartedly agree.

    Sometimes, however, after we listen God plants it in our hearts to meet a need. We must listen long enough after the speaker is silent to hear His direction for the next step.

    • April
      Feb 18, 2013

      Thanks, Carrie. And I completely agree. Our actions should come after listening 🙂

  4. Valerie Becker
    Feb 20, 2013

    So important but so hard for me to do. I think you must have given that woman the best Christmas gift she could have received.

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