Dear Younger Me,
Let me encourage you today. Most of your life you’ve been described as “quiet” and you’ve been made to feel like that’s a bad thing. There are times when you do need to speak out more, and I long for you to find your voice and be confident that you have something to say, but we’ll come to that.
Today, let me encourage you that your quietness has given you a skill which is greatly undervalued: you know how to listen.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19 NLT)
Listening is a skill the world desperately needs. The world is only going to get noisier and when so many people spend their time shouting over one another, clamouring to be heard, it has a great impact when someone is quiet enough to listen.
Develop this skill, and use it well. You’ll find that in many ways it just happens naturally. People will gravitate towards you, wanting to share. Acquaintances will suddenly pour out their worries and problems. Just go with it. It is the greatest privilege to be able to provide a safe space for hurting people.
But the most important thing you need to remember is: you don’t have to fix it!
You will find yourself listening to things that are hard to hear. People you love will be in pain and you will want to make it better for them. You will feel like just listening is not enough.
Let me assure you that it is. It helps more than you know and, while you are called to be a friend, you are not called to be a saviour. There already is a Saviour, and he is the only one.
This brings me to my final point: listen to him. He is the one with the wisdom you need as you navigate your way through life.
“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21 NLT)
This post is part of “Dear Younger Me…” – a series for Write 31 Days in October 2019. Each day I am basing my writing on the one-word prompt provided. Today the prompt is “listen.” You can find an introduction to the series and an index of all the posts here, and you can find out more about the challenge and check out other people’s series here.