So recently I have been really challenged by a verse in the Bible, and when I share it some of you may laugh and say "yeah, you totally need to embrace it." And I would agree, but hopefully you will keep reading and allow for me to explain why.
Each year I have been trying to find a word, verse, chapter, or passage in Scripture that I can make my "life verse" for that year, and my life in general. It has been a while since I have talked about this, because well, duh, I haven't written in a long time. But this verse has been something I have wanted to talk about for a long time! So here goes...my verse this year is James 1:19-20 "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of man."
So let me hit the obvious first. I like talking...A LOT! There have been times that certain people in my life gave a look, a smack, or just told me to stop talking because I tend to take over conversations. And most of you reading this know that about me. It isn't like I am espousing some awesome new truth about the life of Nick. I like to talk, which is probably one of the reasons I am in the profession I am now.
But this verse has more to do with my life than just telling me to shut it, and if you will bear with me for a short (hopefully short) while I will try to explain it.
I have noticed this past year that in many situations I have controlled a conversation I shouldn't have. I have talked way more than I should have and didn't listen nearly as much as I needed to. If I have done that to you, please accept my sincere apologies. It is never my intent to do that and I know that I have probably alienated some of you by doing so. I never look to take the spotlight or to be the focal point, but I know it sure seems that way.
This verse has been jumping out to me like a slap to the face since November of this past year, and I only began to listen around Christmas time (another character flaw...I am super stubborn!). And when I began to listen I realized that yeah, I talk a lot but I also don't listen. If you have ever been in a conversation with me you may have noticed that when someone else speaks I tend to finish their sentences, or immediately jump in when they pause to breathe, or I just start talking over them.
Realizing this has been hard on me. I have realized that I have made others feel like what they have to say doesn't matter, I have seemed prideful, and I have pushed people away because I don't listen. Again, I am sorry for this and that is not who I am nor who I want to be perceived as.
This verse has challenged me to not only be slow to speak but also quick to listen. I love to fix problems! Most guys do, and because of that we, I, often offer up solutions without truly hearing what the other person is saying. So I am striving to make that my goal this year. Not to stop being a fixer or problem solver, but instead to listen, to process, and respond in kind. For me that means pausing before speaking, truly listening to others, and processing what to say in response to what was said.
Hopefully you will begin to see a difference in how I respond when we talk. Know that this is a process for me and I am learning through this. Please help keep me accountable and be willing to grab me by my face to make me listen if necessary (just not too hard, I am pretty fragile), and be praying for me. God is teaching me a lot and I have been really challenged by this. My prayer is two-fold in this. One that God helps to make me a better Christ follower and leader, and two that others may see Christ in me and have a desire to grow to be more like Him as well. I want to be man of God who is seen as righteous not because of anything I do, say, or think but because I am following the Word of God and living by it.
So there it is. An open and honest look into my life and how God is stretching me. Thanks for taking time to read this.