Slow Listener

by Kristen Hartman

April 1, 2020


Words matter to me. A lot. The ones I read and write and say . . . and the ones I listen to.

But I’m a slow listener.

It takes time for words to get from my ears through my head and burrow down in my heart. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, there’s a good chance you received a follow-up email from me a day or two later. Because I need a little longer to really hear and process what you’re saying. (Thankfully I have gracious friends who roll with my time-warped, half-verbal-half-written conversations!)

I’ve been aware of my communication quirk for years, but it’s suddenly occurring to me that it might be more significant than I realized. It might not be limited to me being a little slow listening to the people around me.

I might be slow to listen to God.

This Lent as I was working through a devotional, the author retold the creation story over several days. I was mentally nodding along—I know this one! I smiled when he recounted God’s delight over creating Adam and Eve and the declaration that all of His creation was good but these image bearers of His were “very good.” I’ve always liked that part.

Until I read the author’s last line, “Now walk in God’s words, and with each step hear him saying, ‘VERY GOOD.'”

I froze.

It’s one thing to think about God declaring Adam and Eve “very good,” but it’s another thing to think He might mean me. I see it for others. I hear His declaration for you, His beloved daughter, but do I hear His words and see my own face?

I know I’m made in God’s image. I know the shed blood of Jesus offers me a relationship with God through no merit of my own. I know the words. I know the truth. But have I listened to Him name me Very Good? Has my heart heard Him and actually believed He means me?

The reality is, I’ve heard the words for decades . . . but I’m a slow listener. Those words—those beautiful words—have had a hard time penetrating my ears and my mind and taking root in my heart.

I’m not sure if I can listen faster to the people around me, but I long to shed my label of slow listener when it’s my Father speaking. I long to be able to truly hear and walk in the words He’s been speaking since He first saw all that He made . . . and declared it very good.

Kristen is an introvert who lives life in the slow lane and not just when it comes to listening.

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