Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Listening Life * Grand Finale

Hey, All You Listening Fans ~

It's with a bit of reluctance that we wrap up our final The Listening Life book club / open house.  Adam's powerful, practical insights and the engaging conversations that springboarded off his pages have been so stirring that I kind of hate to say good-bye to this series.

I'm fairly confident that there are more than a few readers who are feeling like you've fallen a bit behind in keeping up with our fast paced posts.  Or maybe haven't even started the book you were longing to curl up in a quiet corner with.

No worries.  I'm not going anywhere and look forward to continuing to connect with you as you read on.   If you want to chat about your discoveries, I'm your woman.




Chapter 8 - Listening to Your Life
'But isn't listening to yourself, so the objection might go, an exercise in self-absorption, an excuse for narcissistic navel gazing?  Isn't focusing on myself the very definition of pride?  Aren't we supposed to be people of love who lose ourselves in the service of others?  I believe that good listening starts at home.  How you listen to yourself will determine how you listen to others.  Do you dismiss your own emotions?  Then there is a good chance you will make a regular habit of dismissing the emotions of others.  Those who are able to discern their own emotions will be most responsive to the emotions of others.  If you are not able to sit with your own painful emotions, you will likely dispense dismissive advice and religious cliches to others when they are in pain.  Do you quickly judge and condemn the thoughts and stirrings of your inner world?  Then you will be unable to show compassion to others when they risk sharing with you.  The harsher your own internal voices, the harsher will be your responses to the mistakes and shortcomings of others.  You will be likely to project your own insecurities and anxieties onto others.'


Chapter 9 - The Society of Reverse Listening
'What if, instead of coming to church to be preached to, people came to church to be heard?  What if the body of believers was known less as a preaching community and more as a listening community? What if the church was a group of people where the power dynamics of speaking and listening were inverted?  Imagine a society of reverse listening, where those who would normally expert to be heard, listen, and those who would normally expect to listen, are heard. I dream of a place where leaders listen to followers, adults listen to children, men listen to women, the majority listens to the minority, the rich listen to the poor, and insiders listen to outsiders.'


Epilogue 
'Listening goes last.  When I worked in hospice, I always told families to keep talking to patients, because no matter how unresponsive they seemed, they could still hear.  On a deep level, as deep as the soul, people in the brink of eternity could hear the whispers and songs of love their families offered them as parting gifts.'




We've got a giveaway going on!  

You've got 'til May 30th at 9 am {eastern} to leave your book review of The Listening Life on Amazon.com to be in the running for a signed copy of Adam's book.  {You need to have either purchased the book at Amazon.com or spent $50 at Amazon.com in the last three months.}  And be sure to say 'hi' to Adam in the comment section and let him know that your review is up and running!

Adam McHugh Is In the House!

28 comments:

  1. This sounds like a wonderful book as we all can improve our "listening" skills. The thoughts shared in the epilogue above are powerful ones. Thank you for sharing about this book!

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    1. The epilogue's encouragement is also a stark reminder to family, medical professionals, and pastors that there's a good chance that the loved one is hearing each . and . every . word spoken.

      They are, after all, still with us.

      Joanne, thanks for being here this morning. I'm glad.

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  2. Interesting bit of serendipity for me, Linda, on the question of listening to myself.

    Barb thinks I should learn to hear my heart's yearning to go home, that I've been through enough, and that the only reason I'm still fighting pain that has become something out of a horror movie is that my body is trained not to quit - ever.

    And I'm of opposite mind, that I have to ruthlessly quell any hint of weakness, and like the Samurai of old welcome being surrounded, for I can strike in any direction. I may lose, but I don't have to surrender.

    The problem with my attitude is that even if I try to make it 'mine only', it still carries over onto others. "Quit whining and die like a man" doesn't win many friends.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2018/05/your-dying-spouse-476-they-come-by-night.html

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    1. Interesting {and probably true} that because your body and your mind were trained to go the millionth mile, that fighter in you still defines much of who you are and how you do battle with your life-threatening illness.

      But even more so, based on all you've shared over time, your soul identity is faith in God. And the Psalmist wrote words that resonate today - 'You are my God. My times are in Your hands' {Psalm 31:14-15}.

      And when all is said and done, He'll be the one to that decides when enough is enough. I understand that this is an unfathomable mystery. Why are some taken quickly and so young? Why do so many of us linger in pain?

      This verse is a favorite of my mom who is in a similar season as you. We keep that in front of us as we move from day to day.

      And therein lies peace, doesn't it ...

      Bless you, Andrew.

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    2. Love that Psalm, Linda. My times are indeed in His Hands.

      I will go the distance, in His Care. He made me, and He will stand by me. Whatever happens.

      Praying for you and your Mum, Linda.

      And in prayer for the love of others, even those whom we have never met (and perhaps especially so) is found that perfect peace.

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  3. I have popped in a few times to read your thoughts and the snippets you post from the book. They are powerful and convicting and thought provoking. What if people came to church to be heard? Whew that will stop you in your tracks.

    Both of your book choices have been perfect for this season in my life. I’ll need to put The Listening Life on my TBR list. I hope spring has been treating you well. I can’t wait to see pictures from all He beauty I know you are surrounded with where you live.

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    1. Yes, Mary, it stopped me in my tracks the first read-through. It was a brand new mindset. Earth-shaking for those of us who love the church and think we've pretty much nailed down how to do it well.

      Surprise!

      I'm so glad to hear that these books are speaking to you in this season. I'm hearing you're in good company. And I can't wait to hear your take after you get to read it.

      {I think you'll love it!}

      ;-}

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  4. "Listening goes last." How interesting! We start out listening; we end up listening. Obviously it's important....

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    1. mmm ... God must have known this when He created us, huh?

      Interesting observation, Lisa ...

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  5. All three of these passages you featured here, Linda, struck me as high-light worthy when I read them. Wow! And I was so glad to be able to share a link on my blog to yours this week. I'm not kidding when I say I will be reading this amazing book again.
    Blessings!

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    1. Thanks for sharing what's happening here over at your place this week, Martha!

      http://marthaorlando.blogspot.com/2018/05/listen.html

      Too kind!

      ;-}

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  6. Linda, I am so glad you did this book. I didn't participate, but as you know I read it last year or so ago and absolutely LOVED it. I think it is one of those "must reads" for everyone. Thanks for all your efforts to expose so many to such outstanding material. Hugs to you, my friend.

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    1. Yep, this is a 'must read' for sure, Pam. Now that I think of it, I can't think of one person I know who wouldn't benefit from soaking in the truth of this high and holy calling to listen well.

      If anyone out there is looking for a 'signature gift' for graduation or wedding or birthday or anniversary or Christmas? You've found it!

      ;-}

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  7. Listening to your life has been something I've been paying a lot more attention to this past year after reading Parker Palmer. So liked how Adam referenced Palmer's teachings in Chapter 8. Listening to your life can also help determine your God-given gifts and the value you bring to others, as well as show the areas God wants to heal, and grow you. That's a chapter I think I could camp on for a long time!

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    1. I love how you put this, Lynn -->'Listening to your life can also help determine your God-given gifts and the value you bring to others, as well as show the areas God wants to heal, and grow you.'

      Maybe our lack of listening well to Him is reason why so many of us are unclear about our purpose, our mission, our calling.

      Mmm ...

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  8. So sad and sorry I missed this! Life ... well, you know. Looking forward to more free time and this book is atop the pile on my nightstand! Blessings!

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    1. I can't wait to hear your take on it, Barbara! I always appreciate your perspective.

      Meanwhile, please know that I've been missing your writing ... are you coming back?

      Hope so!

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  9. I have to admit I've fallen behind with the book but there are so many great insights in what I've read already! The chapter about listening to yourself sounds interesting, and the idea that learning to listen to our own emotions can help equip us to listen to others. I look forward to reading more about that!

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    1. Oh, please don't beat yourself up, Lesley! This is such a busy time of year and so many important things beg for our attention. It's a book that deserves a slow, patient read with lots of time to stop and ponder along the way.

      Enjoy every minute, friend ...

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  10. Thank you, Linda, for recommending this book and also strengthening its lessons through a book study. It was already a risk for me to read a book authored by a man, but when I started reading and found out he was a pastor, I just about freaked out and threw it aside. But God gave His sufficient grace and nudged me to read on. Some things I feel deep within that are not understood in churches I've known were affirmed and understood by Adam. I also was enlightened. His book leads one into a deeper life of listening first of all to God, but also to others and ourselves. Also into a deeper appreciation of our God who is the Greatest Listener of all. I just read the last chapter, and I had to cry. I have never truly been listened to in churches, only preached at. In the church where I grew up in and where a brother and sister and myself were all abused by pastors, children were never listened to but taught to listen to ministers and elders without question. Children were not valued like Jesus values them. Oh, there is so much in this book that has helped me and deepened my listening life that I can't begin to write about it all. I'm still processing a lot. I often find myself beseeching God to help me be a better listener to Him and to others, but I think I also need to pray to be a better listener to my own emotions and embrace them more instead of judging or dismissing them. Chapter 8 really scares me. It makes me cry out to God, "Lord, I'm not really compassionate with myself. Does that mean I'm not compassionate with others?" Thank you again, dear friend, not only for this book study, but also for your listening heart. With you, I have always felt understood, valued, and listened to beyond the words I write. Love and huge hugs to you!

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    1. Oh dear, Trudy. How brave you are to have stuck with us, to have found that the book was safe and its writer was as well. I am grateful that it has ministered into some of those wounded places, friend.

      I pray that every time you share a bit of your story you will find yourself stronger and more whole, and that God will reassure you that you are ministering His grace to others who have suffered in similar ways.

      You are a voice for other women who have been abused. You continue to offer hope ... and yes, great compassion and gentle care.

      Bless you, bless you, dear friend. Jesus loves you so.

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  11. You've done a good job here helping people, Linda. Thanx.

    God bless.

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  12. When I first read this book last year, I think the chapter on listening to yourself impacted me the most. I liked how he talked about how we cannot love God with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength unless we know our minds, hearts, souls and bodies. I found out I had trouble dealing with others emotions since I often tried to ignore mine. It was eye opening and hopefully something I am improving at doing. I did leave a review this morning on Adam's book. Thanks for doing these book clubs, Linda. I will try to not get so far behind on the next one. Is there are next one?

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    1. Oh this, TJ -->' I had trouble dealing with others emotions since I often tried to ignore mine.'

      No truer words were spoken. Amazing how all the lights go on when we stop ignoring what is true about ourselves.

      The next book club? Maybe in the fall? Let's see how God leads on that one ...

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  13. Late to the party as usual!
    One of the ways I "listen to my life" is through writing about it, so blogging has been a real blessing in the accountability it provides. I loved the L'Engle quote on pg. 179: "When there is no time for begin there is no time for listening."
    I think that ol' girl had that one piece of her life well in hand, and it showed up in her writing.

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    1. You're never late around here ... and always more than welcome. You always come bearing something interesting to put on the table.

      I appreciate you, Michele ...

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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