Whether transition is forced upon us or comes about by personal choice, making it to the other side requires that we intentionally process the loss and plan for the next productive season. Is it possible to walk through a major life transition with both hands full, one doing the work of grieving losses, and the other gradually filling up with good seed to plant in rich soil?
Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. – Matthew 7:24-25
Shifting sand. So much of life feels like that. Even now I’m sitting here waiting for a flight which has already been delayed 6 hours and will likely cause me to miss the next connection. Plans gone awry. Hopes left unfulfilled. Dreams delayed. Unwelcomed news.
Thankfully, there is a way to be grounded even while the rain pours and the earth beneath us shifts: Hearing the words of Christ and putting them into practice. The combination of hearing and doing is essential to success as it relates to what we build and how we weather the storms of life. Every person builds something in this life. But the lasting quality of what is constructed depends on how well we listen and how consistently we put those words into practice. This is what distinguishes wisdom from folly. I wonder…Am I being wise or foolish?
It's been said, "God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak." I like the way Jesus puts it, "He who has ears, let him hear." - Matthew 13:9
Attentive hearing has a way of preventing unfortunate situations which our hurried actions can create. We stop to hear (really hear) those around us. We pause to hear God. This invites wisdom into our actions, infuses meaning into the doing. Hearing well engages the heart ahead of the hands, which is essential to effective service. Hearing enables us to serve out of depth of conviction and personal character, bringing life and hope to those around us.
All these benefits to the practice of hearing, and I wonder why I’m so slow to learn. I guess there’s no better time like a flight delay to practice some hearing in the midst of waiting. Hopefully, I can become a little more wise in the process!