I add value with words.
Well, that is a HUGE assumption.
More accurately, I attempt to add value through words.
I feel most comfortable in ministry; in my marriage; in my relationship with my kids; in my friendships, adding value through words that I speak.
I’ve always been good with words.
So many times in our marriage, as Trisha explains an issue or a frustration or a disappointment, I can quickly come up with a solution. Value added! When one of my sons has a problem at school or with a friend or with a teacher, I have just the right advice to give them to make everything better. Value added!
I convince myself that the greatest value I can add to my relationships is with what I say and how I say it.
I value speaking, when Trisha needs me to listen. I value fixing a situation, when my son just needs me to listen. I value explaining something or justifying something, when someone just wanted to be validated through being heard.
What I am learning is that often what Trisha needs is a listener not a talker. So often what my son needs is someone to look him in his eyes and listen…not interrupt him with “expert” advice. What I’m learning is that my wife doesn’t need me to fix her, she just simply needs me to listen to her. What I am learning is that my point doesn’t need to be proven as much as my ability to listen does.
What I’m learning is what I value most, often times doesn’t add the greatest value.
Usually, the greatest value I can add to my marriage; the greatest value I can add to my relationship with my sons; the greatest value I can add to my friendships is through listening, not speaking.
Honestly, I often do the same thing with God. I am quick to speak and slow to listen. I convince myself that God needs to hear from me more than I need to hear from Him. If He’d just let me explain…if He just knew where I was coming from…if He could just understand my point of view. I think I can add a lot of value to my relationship with God through all that I have to say.
Some questions to think about:
How much better would your marriage be if you chose to listen first and talk second? How many arguments would you not have with your teenager if you listened more and spoke less? How much closer could your friendships be if you stopped trying to fix them and just listened to them?
How much more intimate would you walk with God if you listened twice as much as you spoke?
The greatest value that I can add to my relationship with God, my wife, my kids and my friends is through the words that I listen to and not the words that I say.