Thursday, April 19, 2018

Adam McHugh Is In the House! * The Listening Life


Way back in 2009, I won a copy of Adam McHugh's brand new book Introverts in the Church on some website.  And nothing was ever the same.

Hungrily devouring page after page, it turned out to be a rather seismic, empowering experience.  I didn't have a clue that I was so incredibly thirsty for the affirming truths he put on the table.  Finally, someone gave me full permission to be exactly who God created me to be.  

Fast forward a few years ... and Adam was inviting his blog readers to consider the possibility of doing a guest post on his site.  Graciously, he had mercy on this fledgling blogger and posted my Grabbing the Oxygen Mask in 2012.

Six years later, I couldn't be more excited to swing wide the doors and welcome Adam here to kick off our second Book Open House, featuring his most recent work, The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction.  Once again, Adam has penned a book that has the potential to turn your life upside down and inside out.

I'm grateful he said 'yes' to my invitation ...



When my book, The Listening Life, was published, I asserted at the time that there was a crisis of listening in our society. That was December 2015. Let’s just say that the last two and a half years have not exactly done anything to change my mind about that thesis. What was a “listening crisis” then may have been sucked into a “listening vortex” now. I don’t think I need to defend myself too vigorously when I say that our public life is not one that prioritizes listening to each other, and most of us are not currently represented by people who are modeling good listening. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, everyone seems to be speaking and so few people seem to be listening.

The more I think about listening, and the more I try to practice it, the more I am convinced that becoming a good listener is not mostly about gaining a new set of skills. It is about becoming a particular kind of person. If you want to practice good and genuine listening, you must become a Listener. Is there anyone who is a naturally good listener? That depends: do you find emptying yourself, surrendering ego and control, setting aside conversational agenda, and restraining your immediate emotional responses natural? Yeah, me neither.

Because I also have written a book about introversion, called Introverts in the Church, people ask me regularly if listening is a more attainable skill for introverts than for extroverts. What I usually say in response is listening and not speaking are not necessarily the same thing, but that not speaking is a really good start. So perhaps introverts have a head start in the non-speaking component of listening, but if you are introvert like me, you may find your head constantly buzzing with thoughts while another person is trying to share with you. While I may be able to offer outward space quite comfortably, the real challenge for me is in offering others my inward space, sweeping away the internal distractions that prevent me from true presence. Again, I am not convinced that listening is a natural activity for anyone, no matter your temperament.

My hope for all of you, my friends, as you read the fruit of 6 years of listening and researching for me, is that you will be challenged to become Listeners and not only people who can enumerate the steps of listening. Because people who seek to become listeners start acting a lot like Jesus. And because our society, and the people in our lives, are desperate for listeners.

(I am sure I will peek in a time or two at the comments on this post, but the best way to contact me is to follow this link. And if you would be interested in having me speak (ironic, I know) for an event or weekend, send me an email.) 

Adam

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We'll be discussing The Listening Life for the next five weeks.   As always, I'll be putting two quotes on the table for your consideration on Thursday mornings. 

This is an open house kind of book club so there's no need to feel like you've gotta show up on Thursday.  Come and go as you can ... the best part of the whole deal is joining in on the conversation that follows.


Next week, we'll be talking about the Introduction and Chapter 1.  

And if you're not reading along, please drop by anyway and jump on into the discussion.  You're welcome with or without the book!   Feel free to bring along your real life and online friends, too.  The more, the merrier.

Please join me in thanking Adam for taking the time to give us some substantial food for thought today.  Go ahead and use the link in his last paragraph to connect with him.  He's a nice guy.


And tell him Linda sent ya' ...





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on Wednesdays

28 comments:

  1. I just read the Kindle sample to this book! It looks so good. Better listening skills is one way I want to grow this year. Blessings to you as you read and lead this discussion, Linda. What a good idea.

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    1. I think we're all in the same boat, knowing deep down that this is an area that needs work in our lives.

      Trust me, you're in good company, Betsy.

      ;-}

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  2. Thank you, Linda and Adam. As an introvert, I can so identify with this - "the real challenge for me is in offering others my inward space, sweeping away the internal distractions that prevent me from true presence." I can seem to give a person my full attention outwardly, but those internal distractions buzz away. Even when trying to quiet myself and listen to God. :( I'm looking forward to this study! Blessings to you both!

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    1. Good point, Trudy, on how we can look like we're playing the part, but meanwhile we're a million miles away.

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  3. This is a great introduction to the study! Clearing the inward space of all those distracting thoughts is definitely the challenge for me too, but I have seen, from both sides, how powerful real listening is and I'm looking forward to growing in this area!

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    1. Once we've been truly listened to, it stays etched in our minds and hearts. And we crave that experience all the more.

      For sure ...

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  4. As an extrovert with a couple of introverted tendencies, I can be driven to express myself ... worse when I have been alone too long. When I am in conversation with someone, I probably do interject too much cause I want to be thorough and go deep in the subject at hand. I dislike skipping around from one subject to another. I guess you could say I want to beat the subject to death in order to find satisfaction and understanding. My brain no longer multi tasks well or coherently. I used to be able to fake it and look like I could think about more than one thing at a time...haaa. One subject at a time for this old lady is the order of the day.

    I do try to listen more and more but most important is to understand and that can be complicated. Some do not articulate well what they mean. At work this is a ongoing frustration.

    Adam, you are so right and we all need to develop the skill of listening whether introverted or extroverted. Hoping your book shows the arena in which we can practice...maybe role playing? Is there a listener’s support group or club? LOL. Or maybe Lisreners 101 at a nearby college. Phewwww. The learning never ends. “Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.” Psalms‬ ‭92:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬
    Lord, keep us learning.

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    1. One subject at a time ... I hear ya', Carol.

      Great point that understanding is complex and can be frustrating. But that's listening's goal, isn't it.

      Makes me wonder what our relationships would all look like if we put the energy into understanding that we invest in trying to be heard.

      Just thinkin' ...

      Glad you're here, Buds.

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  5. Such a great way to kick this off with a letter of introduction from Adam himself, Linda. So excited about the journey!
    Blessings!

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    1. It IS exciting! I'm so glad he said 'yes.'

      ;-}

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  6. Looking forward to this session. Of course, instead of listening as I read the comments, I was formulating in my mind what I wanted to say! Definitely an area I need to work on!

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    1. Yep, our minds often seem to wander off topic. Formulating, huh?

      ;-}

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  7. Thank you Adam! My internal chatter is very disruptive when it comes to truly listening. Even with the technique of active listening, I'm still focused on me during the listening process! I look forward to reading the book to gain insight on how to be more of a self-less listener.

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    1. It's going to be a great conversation, for sure! Adam gives us plenty of good stuff to muse on.

      Glad you're here, Lynn!

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  8. How fun to have Adam here, Linda! His comment "if you are introvert like me, you may find your head constantly buzzing with thoughts while another person is trying to share with you." really struck me! Definitely something I struggle with. Looking forward to the next five weeks at your house!

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    1. I'm thinking our conversations will bear fruit.

      Trusting God will do this for us all, June ...

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  9. The topic of listening is near and dear to my heart, Linda! I'll have to check Adam's latest book out! Sounds like a perfect read for me! Thank you for always pointing us to great writers and resources, my friend! Hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Beth! You made me realize once again, just by being here, how crucial listening well is to cultivating a healthy marriage over the long haul. I'd love your input from that perspective ...

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  10. Can't wait to begin this discussion! I know I need help listening....

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    1. We're off and running tomorrow morning, Sarah!

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  11. I actually read Adam's books in the wrong order, reviewing Introverts in the Church when it was re-issued by IVP recently. I loved The Listening Life, and am looking forward to jumping back into it. As She-Who-Finishes-Her-Husband's-Sentences, I can always use a refresher.

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    1. Ah, yes. Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only 'She-Who-Finishes-Her-Husband's-Sentences' spouse / mother / daughter / sister.

      I'm in very good company. Phew!

      ;-}

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  12. Linda,
    The older (and hopefully wiser) I get, I truly appreciate the importance of listening. Everyone has a need to be heard - to be listened to. I know I do, so I need to turn that around and extend that gift to others. Having the last word, or the first word, or all the words in between is not all that it's cracked up to be. I find I discover a lot more about people and life when I choose to listen more and speak less. I look forward to popping in :)
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. This made me smile, Bev -->'Having the last word, or the first word, or all the words in between is not all that it's cracked up to be.'

      So true ...

      ;-}

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  13. Oooo. I'm so interested in this topic. Thanks so much for bringing these books to my attention. Visiting you today from Holley Gerth's link-up. laurensparks.net

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    1. Perfect timing, Lauren! I'm glad you found us!

      ;-}

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  14. Being an introvert and listening: two of my most frequent hiccups in life. Thanks and blessings for introducing me to Adam'S resources, Linda.

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    1. You're gonna love him, Alice! His two books are gamechangers for sure. Please let me know what you think as you dive in.

      I'm glad you're here.

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Dear Reader ~

Technical glitches happen.

* sigh *

Doesn't seem to be a place to leave your comment? Or your comment doesn't show up within an hour or so?

I'd love if you'd email me your contribution ... I'd be delighted to hand post it as soon as possible.

lindastoll @ juno . com

My apologies. And thanks for the grace ...

Linda