Sitting down with beloved friends and family over the holiday season, I noticed something that not only seems to be becoming more prevalent in our own family but in most families and even during friendly conversations… we are consistently interrupting each other.
It was not until I listened to my (much needed) morning podcast, that I gained some understanding. Bishop TD Jakes was mentioned how hard it is to counsel people whose marriages are in trouble because when you tell them to communicate, they end up fussing at one another. He defined fussing as follows:
Fussing is when you just waiting for me to shut up so you can get your point in because you are not interested in what I said… so we never really have communication, we have turns at monologue.
This made so much sense. We are all suffering from the disease of the perpetual monologue.
So with my new insight at hand, I reviewed the discussions of the last few weeks. We were all just engaging in a group monologue (thankfully) around the same theme. I realized that instead of hearing what the other person had to say, we hear a small part and then our attention is divided between checking that they don’t say what I wanted to say and compiling my response so that I will be the next one who is ready to speak.
A symptom of the information age?
Sitting back, I wonder how much more meaningful each conversation would have been, had we each listened to the other with the intent of hearing what they had to say, instead of listening so that we can respond. In the age of digital interaction and microwave relationships, are we so used to just spewing out / regurgitating information that we have forgotten that information is only truly useful once we take it in, process it and then only respond to it in an appropriate way?
It spreads to every area of your life!
On deeper introspection, I realised that I do exactly the same with my time that I spend with the Lord. I read one small passage, and instead of hearing the passage I am already looking how to respond, what I need to do to change, what I need to do to respond appropriately…
I can not help but ask myself why I am still so focused on dead works, when Jesus already did all that needs to be done? Imagine what depths of God’s heart and His love for me and for others will I not be able to delve into if I just took the time to listen instead of to respond instantaneously?
Imagine the possibilities!
Similarly, imagine what our marriages, families, friendships and workplaces will look like if we stopped interacting through endless monologues. What would happen if we were more focused on hearing the other person and what is going on in their heart, instead of being focused on how what they are saying affects me, how it makes me look and feel.
Now on to the next challenge… finding a cure that will cure the crazy Welsh family of this disease. If you have had any success please leave some ideas in the comments section.