“All people want is someone to listen.”
I find it interesting how something we all desire as humans is something that is so difficult for most people to do. I’ve met so few true listeners in my life. Is it because listening requires us to relinquish our ‘it’s all about me’ mentality? Or is it just because we don’t understand what listening really means?
Over the course of my life, I’ve been told that I am a good listener. I consider that to be a huge compliment. Recently, though, I’ve started to wonder why good listening seems like a ‘unique’ skill. I enjoy listening to people, and I don’t feel like I do anything that special. But as I sit here writing, I am struggling with feeling like no one is listening to me.
I am wired differently than most people. First of all, I am an extreme introvert. Not everyone knows what that means. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like to talk. Added to that, I am a very deep thinker and feeler – to an extreme. In fact, finding middle ground between extremes has always been one of my biggest internal struggles. As far as external struggles, I have never really felt understood. I don’t think everything about me is that complicated so why is it that I feel so misunderstood? The answer is simple – no one is really listening.
I grew up being told that I shouldn’t feel anything, and it wasn’t okay to think differently than anyone else. My questions remained unasked, which meant they remained unanswered. My emotions were stuffed so far down that I didn’t even know they were there.
As I’ve journeyed in my faith, I’ve been told several times that I need to let God heal me. That He would help me to work through my questions and heal my hurts. If I would just pray and believe, God would take care of me. I’ve begun to wonder if people say that to make themselves feel ‘off the hook’ for not taking any action. I believe that God wants to heal my heart. I believe that He created me the way that I am for a reason, and that He wants to show me how to use my wiring to glorify Him. I may not know exactly what all of that will end up looking like, but I am sure of one thing – God wants to use others in my healing process. I have been sure of that for a while now, and I have been watching to see how God would use others. I have also actively taken steps to put myself in a position to receive that healing.
Getting connected has always been a very difficult thing for me. I fight battles daily with the voices that tell me it’s my fault that I am so isolated and alone – that I don’t deserve to be connected. Through that, though, I have occasionally found the strength to take a step toward connection. But when I do, I never feel supported in that. So I hear that I need to do it on my own, but when I try, I run into a wall. When I express that, I get told that there are people around me who want to help. I’m struggling with what help they’re really offering. I hear people say that they’ll pray for me. That’s great. I appreciate the prayers. But at what point does that become just something said so one doesn’t have to act?
All I really want is someone to listen. Listening involves more than just hearing someone talk. I can talk and talk and talk, but not feel listened to. In fact, I have. I feel like I’m talking to myself. No one else seems to be listening. How can God use others to heal my heart if no one is there, willing to be used? Galatians says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Sometimes, bearing one another’s burdens can consume a large amount of your resources – a great sacrifice. Sometimes, it’s just listening…
We all need it. It is something we all want to receive. So why is it so hard to give?