As I write this post, I’m in Florida enjoying my new little grandbaby, Kinley Joanna! Oh my – she’s beyond precious! As I’ve been rocking Kinley or helping with her older brother, Noah, I’ve overheard conversations between my youngest daughter, who had Kinley, and her sisters. The girls have asked Keri all about her birthing experience. As I’ve listened, I’ve smiled. Because here’s what I know to be true: we need to process our major life events with those who love and cherish their relationship with us. We all need people in our lives who will listen to and honor our stories.
Jesus modeled listening when the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years touched the hem of His robe. Although she was instantly healed, Jesus turned and asked, “Who touched me?” What a seemingly bizarre question coming from the Creator of the universe. Obviously, He knew who touched Him. So why did He ask? I believe it was so that the woman could process her story (Mark 5:1-33).
Stories around major life events, such as weddings, births, transitions, adoptions, and deaths, all need to be processed. That’s how we grow and heal as individuals. As followers of Jesus, we need to follow His example and listen attentively to the stories of others. As my daughters listened to Keri, she felt valued and loved. The deep connection between the sisters grew even stronger.
This week, make it your goal to draw out the stories of others. I challenge you to find someone you have previously not connected with at work and draw out that person’s story. Or you could draw out the story of an elderly person in your life, or of a neighbor that you have previously not connected with. No matter whose story you draw out, follow these two rules:
Ask questions. As they answer, allow new questions to form in your mind. Questions like where they grew up and what their home life was like. You might ask what they enjoy most about their career, or what their extended family is like. The key is to stay curious and find out as much as you can. I’ll never forget when our daughter was working for a financial company. Her first week at work, Bethany was told that her focus for the first few weeks would be only to get to know her co-workers. She was told to conduct a 15 minute interview with every single employee of the company. What a great idea!!
When you listen to someone’s story, you build bridges to connect with others. Is there a challenging person at your work place? Seek to connect by drawing out their story. Is there tension with a relative in your life? Seek to connect by drawing out that relative’s story. You may find you have far more in common than you ever dreamed possible.
For more ideas on building deeper relationships, pre-order your copy of How to Listen So People Will Talk. If you preorder a copy, let us know and we’ll send you a FREE e-book called How to Get The Conversation Started for Those Who Want to Listen. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and your FREE gift will be in your inbox within 24 hours.
With all the excitement of Kinely being born, I forgot to announce the winners of the last two blogs! Last week’s winner is Christie Suttle, and the winner of the Starbucks gift card is Joyce Canary Rose. Thanks to all who participated in the comments – and hey, keep the comments coming because they encourage others!