You cannot be relationally healthy if you cannot listen. Where there is no listening, there is only isolation.
This includes listening to ourselves.
Where we cannot or do not listen to ourselves, we will not be able to bring ourselves to God or others for relationship. At best, we’ll only be able to bring a fraction of ourselves.
Listening well to ourselves means first giving ourselves freedom to speak, whether outwardly to another person or to God, or inwardly simply to ourselves. Whether or not we’re aware of it, many of us have learned to parrot more than we’ve learned to let ourselves speak. We’ve become such expert and automatic self-editors that we hardly know ourselves at all.
For Christians who understand that truth remains truth regardless of whether or not we believe it, it seems many of us have mistaken this to mean that anything that’s happening deep within us that doesn’t seem to coincide with truth should be shut down, or shut up.
But Jesus didn’t come to silence our insides, not even our deepest, darkest parts. He came to save us—our private insides just as much as our public outside.
Remember David’s words about God: “You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom” (Psalm 51:6).
Listening well to ourselves means we pay attention to the words that run through our minds and our hearts—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Augustine said, “Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know Thee.”
As we learn to listen to the reality of what’s happening inside us, and then learn to bring what we hear there into our relationship with God, then (and only then) are we able to experience how He relates with us as we are, rather than just as we wish we were.
In my life, I’ve needed others to help me listen to what’s happening deep inside me—whole enough others who can listen well, ask meaningful questions, and reflect back what they are seeing and hearing. People who are really good at this help us discover wells of emotion, deep desire, ancient wounds, and more. In so doing, they enable us to bring these parts of ourselves into relationship with God.
God has abundant good in store. Are you willing to begin slowing down to listen to yourself? To bring into His light those deep insecurities, doubts about His love, fears of intimacy, and whatever else is inside?
He does not force us.
But we will remain bound in isolation where we refuse to listen to ourselves and speak it out.
(Our team at Regeneration would love to help.)
Question: Can you think of an area of your life where paying attention to what was happening on the inside has helped you grow, deepen intimacy with God or others, or benefit in some other way? Leave a comment here.
With ears to hear,