I am one of those people who likes to have noise in the background. I have the TV playing when i go to bed. While I’m working, I listen to podcasts and music. I have earbuds in most of the day.
Recently, i noticed that i have the habit of only listening to one earbud at a time. It’s so bad that when one of my earbuds stopped working, i didn’t notice. I was so used to hearing in only one ear, that even when I had both earpieces in, the lack of output on one side didn’t bother me. I walked around for weeks like that. I only realized when someone else borrowed them. Someone else had to tell me that I was missing out on the full sensory experience.
I consider myself to be a good listener. I take notes. I try to respond appropriately. I ask clarifying questions. But this experience made me realize that i’m only half-listening most of the time. I always have one ear available to hear something else. I call myself multi-tasking. But really i’m only half-way doing anything at all.
Truly hearing requires focus. Truly hearing requires action. That’s why the deacon always paraphrases, James 1:22, ‘blessed be the hearers and doers of God’s Holy Word.’ It’s hard to do something well, if you haven’t heard the instructions properly.
Do you have any devices, like my headphones, that are functional, but they don’t work to their full capacity? Do you have people in your life like that? Are you one of those people. If you, like me, find yourself halfway doing any thing, it’s time to reevaluate.