This past Sunday, Pastor Courtney preached about listening as a way to love and as a way for love to grow in us. When we listen to others, God can cultivate love in our lives – both for the listener and the speaker – in deeper ways.
After the service I spoke with someone who said, “I have been thinking about listening along similar lines this past week. How would it change the conversation when we first meet someone if rather than beginning with, “What do you do for a living?’ we inquired, ‘What’s the best thing you’ve ever done?’”
The sermon and this conversation has had me wondering about finding a new question to ask when I meet with people. “What is something that made you cheer wildly?” or “Where do you find beauty in the world?” or “What makes you laugh?”
And this practice does not just have to be for the first time I meet someone, either. I wonder how conversations would go if I didn’t ask, “How are you?” and instead asked, “What beauty have you seen today?” or “Has anything made you smile today?”
I realize that asking these questions may change the conversation because they might seem intrusive or too personal. Why would we want to share with a complete stranger something deeply personal about our lives? Yet then I wonder why we don’t share more of who we are with others. Is it because we don’t want them to use it against us or we don’t want to be disappointed if those people judge us or don’t really care about the answer or …
Providing an alternative possibility to conversation starters might be one way that we can demonstrate God’s love by offering to listen to people’s lives.
I wonder how you might change conversations with those around you this week.