I’m also beginning to see how much I assume as a listener. I assume I understand what the person is trying to communicate. So I don’t ask follow up questions. I assume they know that I know what they are talking about and therefore feel heard. But that assumption is pretty arrogant. It is pretty arrogant to think that I understand what they are trying to communicate without being clear about it. And even if I am right about what they are trying to communicate, it is pretty unkind if I don’t show them that I hear them. This is an area that I have been working on. I have really been trying to understand people. My need for ongoing growth really shows up when I vibrate (get anxious). In one of the spontaneous conversations I had this week I vibrated and went right back to old habits. I got competitive which means that I listened to attack and defend.Even in all that, I can honestly say that I am a better listener. Just a couple weeks ago my wife and I had a couple over to our house. They had a matter they needed help sorting out and my wife and I were helping them through it. After the couple left, my wife and I sat in our living room and “debriefed” the conversation. At the end of our conversation I asked her, “What did you notice about how you and I worked together?” Her response is still something I am proud of. She said, “I notice that you ask more questions than before.”
This week the new RCA Today magazine came out. In it is a short article I wrote about generating and sustaining creative tension. All of this comes from the Ridder Transformational Process that I have been a part of for the last three and half years.
This takes courage. It takes courage to purposefully create tension. It takes courage to intentionally rock the boat. It takes courage to accurately and truthfully reflect current reality to people who may not want to see it. For me personally, it takes courage because I have to face into my fears of failing, not being competent, and wanting to be liked. If I don’t face these fears, they will dominate what I do or don’t do. My actions will be driven not by my pursuit of Christ, but by my pursuit of protecting myself. I’m serving me.