Walls and Windows

retaining wallMy wife and I are building a retaining wall behind our house. Last week she was thrown off our ATV while putting it away. Yesterday I realized that my feet were so sore that I was having trouble walking on them. The problem that at 71 and 70 we are pushing the project too fast. We just cannot work like we used to. Ugh. Aging!

With more time and some help from our friends we will get it done

And there are several other projects what we will just hire done. Our friends are looking relieved. Because I have learned to acknowledge what I hear, I realized that their smile, concern and even relief is saying something I obviously need to hear. “Jamie, it’s not just this project. You have to make adjustments in many of your expectations.”

This wall is stout. It is designed to hold back tons of force. Try to move it. It is stubborn. So am I. Neither my wife nor I would have accomplished what we have in life without being persistent people. Another word for “persistent,” of course, is stubborn. We have had to hold a ton of discouragement at bay and with God’s help more forward more than once.

Though persistence builds character according to Paul, it can also build “muelism.” Listening is a window thought the wall of stubbornness. We need both.

And I do think this need to cultivate the art of listening is a part of God’s design. I know that we are better at seeing and judging the appropriateness other people’s decisions than we are of our own. I am just so excited to turn that around and know those who care for my wife and I are better judges than we are of what is or is not appropriate. So if we are going to be wise we need to listen, open the window between our hearts and the insight of those around us.

Besides needing each other, we need to grown in the grace to hear what others say. That is the second thing that practicing listening prayer does. First, it opens our hearts to God’s perspective. Second, it teaches us to grace of hearing what is sometimes difficult to acknowledge. That is true whether God is speaking to us through the Spirit or through others. Listening Prayer prepares us to receive, value and even cherish the wisdom of the loving people we share life with.