I love hanging out with my 8-year-old daughter.
She is a precious prize.
She sings with all the rasp and soul of a heart-broken Adele.
When I hear her singing “Rolling in the Deep,” I think…
Who broke up with my 8-year-old to give her so much understanding?
It makes me think about how some people just know things or know about things.
There’s a hundred reasons why they couldn’t possibly have knowledge in these areas (whether it be age, experience, or where they are in life and leadership), but nevertheless… they know. You know?
My daughter tries to tell me how to drive and how to cook. She even gives me tips for leading in life. It’s funny to me because she has never done any of these things successfully… not even once. But I don’t mind since she’s only eight.
It’s not quite so entertaining when a grown up acts the same way as my eight year old daughter.
I was recently with a group of leaders where I observed some interesting behavior.
Every time a specific person would join the conversation, others would begin to peel themselves away from the group. There were even a few instances when the group began to break apart at the very sight of this particular individual walking their way.
While I don’t condone excluding anyone, it was interesting to note how people reacted to someone who thought they knew everything. Fact is, people don’t like know-it-alls.
If you’re under the age of 30, then you’re more likely to think you know it all. Don’t take that the wrong way. We’ve all been there. It’s like that famous bumper sticker, “Hire a teenage, while they still know everything!”
This I realize… the older I get, the less I know.
Even so, there are still times when I find myself talking too much. Does this happen to you too?
If we’re being honest, then we have to put a big, fat YES at the end of that question.
Why is the compulsion to open our mouths and start flapping our gums so appealing? What is that stinking impulse that tells us…
Yep, you already know everything the other person is saying… even though they are still talking, right now would be a good time to start figuring out what you are going to say back so you can quit listening now…
Grrrrrr… I would love to tell you I have outgrown this quirk, but I haven’t. Even with a conscious effort to talk less and listen more, I still find myself chiming in when it is not necessary.
You see, I already know everything I know. So if I want to keep growing, then I need to learn what other people know by giving them my full attention.
Don’t take my word for it.
Here’s what the Book of Proverbs has to say about listening:
- Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser
- Listen when your father corrects you
- Come and listen to my counsel
- All who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm
- Listen to what I say, and treasure my commands
- Listen when your father corrects you
- Listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life
- Listen carefully to my words
- Listen carefully to my wise counsel
- Listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say
- Why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
- So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words
- Listen as Wisdom calls out!
- Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you
- My children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful
- Listen to my instruction and be wise
- Joyful are those who listen to me
- The wise listen to others
- A mocker refuses to listen to correction
- If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise
- If you listen to correction, you grow in understanding
- Those who listen to instruction will prosper
- Listen to the words of the wise
- Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge
- My child, listen and be wise
- Listen to your father, who gave you life
Wow, that is a whole lot of shut your pie hole and listen! 😉
It must mean we really have a fleshy, natural tendency to talk too much. Wouldn’t you agree?
My Turn to Listen
Since this is the case, I am going to heed this advice and shhh then listen to what you have to say in the comments below. Please share (you wise ones) how you have struggled to keep quiet while listening.
Tell me about a time when you have battled and overcome the desire to talk and be heard?
There were 6 of us in our family and it seemed if you had something to say you better talk fast and a lot when the opportunity arises so not only did I battle that, I also battled all that you mentioned. As I became more confident in who I am and learned to quit pushing “my agenda” the talking became less and less. However, like you—grrrrr it still rises up and when it does, that is usually when I say the wrong thing. Sometimes, well a lot of times, less is more. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post.
Renne – There were 6 in my family too! I think we came from the same mold!
I struggle when to open up & be heard.. and I struggle w/ when to shut up & listen.. I’m always trying to live in the balance or the safe zone. I try to be intentional w/ what I’m saying.. sometimes there’s too many questions I’m asking in my head, or the fact that words are powerful & can’t be taken back. Sometimes, I’m not sure if what I’m saying is correct, until I say it.. & sometimes I just have to say it & take that risk. I find asking myself this question helps: “Why do you feel you need to say this, will it help the situation in an eternal way, what is your intention here?” My 15 year old daughter says I over think things but honestly, I think most people don’t really think enough before speaking. A couple of safe rules to follow- 1. don’t give unsolicited advice. 2. sometimes actions speak louder than words. And finally, (this is just me) – I ask: What does the situation demand? What can I learn? What can I contribute? OK, so my daughter might be right. #overthinker #itmightbetimeforhumor. And that’s a whole other struggle.
Angela – your comments made me smile. LOVE the hashtags!!!
As much as I would like to think I’m a great listener, the truth is I often wish stories and conversations came with the disclaimer, “Just the abridged version, please.”
I recently began a relationship that came with some unique challenges. The capacity for misunderstanding, frustration and hurt was huge. It boiled down to doing what I’ve always done and getting what I’d always gotten or making personal changes to create something immensely fulfilling for a lifetime. I had to listen diligently, speak earnestly and not allow minor offenses to gain a foothold. Though it hasn’t been easy and the work is ongoing, the benefits are greater than I’d ever imagined.
Ria – What an encouraging story! You know something you said reminds me of a quote. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
You said very close to same thing and decided to make changes instead. Great move!!!!
After being out of work for sooooooo long, knowing all of my skills, when I do get an interview, I really have to fight the urge to tell this person ALL about myself and how wonderful I am and all that I can do for them…when I need to just be quiet and listen, answer their questions simply, and keep my enthusiasm in my pocket! (At least until I am hired! LOL) Thanks Pastor!
Debra – Great strategy!
I always am afraid that I will forget what I want to say. So, I find myself interrupting…when I should be listening. We learn so much from listening. This is something I recognized long ago in my life and I continue to work on it daily.
Angie – Interrupting is something that effects us all. The tongue is such a difficult muscle to control!
I am going to have to tell myself to SHHHH more often 🙂
Morgan – Do it in a library, no one will notice – lol!
I remember those teenage years very well, and I still struggle with wanting to chime in more than I should when others are speaking. I am reminded of something my very wise daddy told me during those know it all years. If you don’t walk away from a conversation with a friend or aquantence, learning at least five new facts about them. You have talked to much, and have not shown enough interest in others. With this in the back of your mind, you will make others feel loved by your attentiveness.
Shonda – Funny how your daddy chose the number 5. In biblical numerology, 5 is the number of grace! Interesting huh?
Wow, a big reminder that humility rocks! From an expressive ‘know it all’ to learning daily has been a long road, and it’s a long way from being over. My first blunders were with my daughters who thankfully just tease me about it now as we have moved from parent/child to best friend status. The shift came when I stopped pushing and started listening, and not just any listening, listening with understanding. Empathy rules in any relationship and listening is the key. Thanks Nicole for blogging and thanks Ria for pointing me at this!
Nigel – Empathy rules……..awesome topic! That should be a blog in itself! Maybe you should write one?
What a powerful word, ‘listen’, . . . thanks for sharing. God’s Word is so so good.
I appreciate your encouragement Mick!
I am an explainer. I tend to use examples and go in to detail even when it’s not necessary. Afterwords, I think To myself should have just shut up. Learning daily that most of the time if I am quiet, I don’t have to do as much explaining.
Denyse – Fantastic observations about your own life Denyse. That is a great skill!
I read your all of your words carefully earlier tonight and realized that I need to keep Silent more often to Listen to what God is telling me with all the areas of my life…work, home, family, friends, and children.
So, then I was reading His Word with my daily, One Year Bible verse just now before bed and it also spoke to me with this Proverbs verse….
Boy, is this telling me something or what?
I shall work on this challenge of being still, quiet, and one with GOD!
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Stephanie – God has a way of getting His message to us, doesn’t He? But don’t be discouraged, it is never for less with God, it is always for more! He is grooming you for something!
This is hilarious… A “KNOW IT ALL” annoyed me so bad that I made a blog about it just last month!
Sometimes it’s nice to let people talk… Everyone needs to feel themselves the “expert” of something, but at the same time… it can be quite annoying when someone apparently hasn’t experienced enough of life to be humbled enough to realize he’s surrounded by a wealth of wisdom….
Post the blog here Michelle! We wanna see it!
A wise man once said. “Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”
Amy – great quote! Can I use it?
Thank you Pastor Nicole! You are helping me realize that it is hard to think of times when I overcame the desire to talk and be heard. I think recently I overcame the desire to talk w/ my Husband and my Mom but confess that I didn’t listen very well. For myself I need to work on both of your recommendations to Shhh verbal and internal thoughts so I can intently listen to the people God has placed in my life! Thank you again!
Jeni – Listening is a HARD skill. A LOT of the time! Keith Moore has taught a message on humility that discusses this as well. I usually listen to it about once a year to help me stay in check!
oh my how idk what it will take to shut my mouth. I think I get so furious with my neighbors (who are all women with children) because i see them keep silence when others are wrong. Just last night there was a shooting outside my home. Well, it was at my neighbors house. Her 17yr old son had gotten into a fight with a boy (fist fight), and won. The boy decided to go to his house and shoot up his home because he lost the fight. Meanwhile, a little history on the parenting was the mother who let her 17yr old run the streets with his younger sister (15yrs old), and so these are the consequences. Claiming she prays and let’s God handle her kids, but skips over the disciplining of her children. Needless to say now the whole family (which the bullets barely missed) is having to move out of state because of the one child. So today while they packed and the mother was gone, the 17 yr old walks behind me and another neighbor into the other neighbors house (who has 6 kids, ranging from 3yrs old to 16yrs old) and he stands at her door watching outside to see if he sees anyone trying to come for him at his house across the culdesac. The neighbor and I engage in conversation about hearing the gunshots and the boy says “he wont come back because the house is being watched now” i proceed to say “if he was bold enough to shoot once he will do it again since his intentions were to apparently hurt someone” mind you i am 34 he is 17, he says in response “im gonna need you to shut up or you’re gonna bring out the other side of me” i proceeded to tell him “you put your family’s life in jeopardy, I would suggest you keep that other side to yourself, and try to do something productive with your life since you already have a little girl pregnant and your mother is still paying your probation, that is my friend” he said “well thats my mother and you need to mind your own business you dont know anything about me” *with so many cursing words and i said “well that is my friend” and he said “i dont care” and i said “thats exactly why your family now has to pick up and move” but what furiated me the most is that he had no respect for me being an adult, and that his mother said nothing to him. she waits up for them to come home until 3am to 4am in the morning while they run wild, and her so called “friends” pretend there is nothing wrong with that. so when his mother (my friend) comes to me about it, of course i was wrong, but the boy didnt have to stand in another neighbors house with me if he didnt want to listen to me, but he continued to stand there and disrespect me, even when i was calmly talking about the situation NOT TO HIM. she went on to say her child “is not right and he knows he did wrong” but my issue was if he’s not right then why let him run the streets, and if he knows he did wrong, but yet states he “doesnt care” then proceeds to claim “he is still a child” once again if he is a child, why let him run the streets and move her out of her home as if he is a grown man, much less talk to adults including her as if he is grown. she said “you know as well as i do when you talk to kids it just goes in one ear and out the other” but does it really? because MY kids can quote verbadum what i verbally teach and tell them. i felt like that was an excuse bc maybe she was embarassed and then tired of talking to them, maybe she didnt want to be a mother anymore, idk…but this is the same woman that told me my kids were spoiled and tried to tell me how i should be a mother. i do believe that prayer is very powerful, but faith without works is dead, and God tells us to discipline our kids. “spare the rod, spoil the child” I am a parent, not their friend. When do i remain quiet and let someone stay in their mess. I believe a TRUE friend will tell you the TRUTH…but someone that will stroke your feelings will remain silent. but my definite issue was trying not to get mad and extremely angry at this 17yr old that has caused so much rucus over the years and heartache and still doesnt listen nor care, and then for him to call me out of my name several times, and to bring up assumptions of what apparently his mother told him about me, i was appauled. unbelievably appauled that i cried for hours afterward. what do i do? i cant fix myself. almost think i would be better off without friends bc i care about them enough to want them out of their mess, and i wouldve given the world to her kids at anytime and she talked behind my back to them about things i confided in her about, for them to later judge me. when this whole situation wasnt about me. why do i feel like im the only one that is like this in the whole world. just cut, dry honest. nothing pretty, no hun, no baby, no darling. if its truth and its actual facts, its there and i lay it out. help!