I took this picture a few mornings ago at around 6:14 in the morning; I had gotten up at about 5:30, and stepped out onto the back deck to take in the cold air before starting my day, but when I saw the moon and the way the trees looked like spilled ink, I *had* to go grab my camera.
Life has been remarkably interesting lately. Just so many things going on. It just keeps spinning, going around and around.
Somethings that have recently been on my heart lately are working towards goals diligently, and being there for people when they need you.
I posted about the working hard a week or so ago, but the being there for people is fairly new. It's hard to draw the line between fixing someone and knowing when they simply need you to listen.
When I say 'fixing' them, I mean giving them advice or trying to point them in the right direction; not trying to shape them into what I want them to be. I think that's wrong. Trying to change them is never a right move to make, unless they're involved in a sin that is obviously against God's Word or unsaved.
But listening... just listening is so important. Letting them know that you are there for them no matter what. I've had to just listen so many times to so many people.
Listening is important; but the way you listen also communicates how you care. You might be listening, but if your body language, the tone of your voice when you say something, isn't alert and attentive, it'll send the wrong message. I've talked to people before that I know are listening, but the way they acted completely gave me the vibe that they didn't really want to listen and had better things to be doing.
I try to listen, and show that I want to listen... but sometimes the person talking doesn't quite get it. That's frustrating to me, but patience is another vital tool when it comes to listening.
They'll open up to you when they're ready. No sooner. It may take a little nudging, a little repeating that you really do care, but it's when they decide to.
I once told a person that I'd wait for them to tell me what they were thinking, even if the wait would be long. I don't know if they'll ever tell me, but if they do, I know for certain that the wait will have been worth it.
Nothing is more aggravating than having someone force you to tell them what's on your mind, and I'm trying hard to not cross that line, but be encouraging at the same time. It's a fine barrier to tread upon, and how we tread it in the meantime will determine if the person opens up or not.
It's all very delicate and hard to walk - but a listening ear can help far more than we realize.
So don't act apathetic when someone's talking to you - when they really need you to listen. Look them in the eyes, try to understand; put yourself in their place and listen. Just being there can comfort them.
And no matter how many times you say it, reassuring them that you're there for them never gets old. Always let them know that you really, truly care.