During morning prayer recently, we read the following from Romans 8:10: “If Christ is in you the body is dead because of sin, while the spirit lives because of justice.” While it was being read aloud, I only heard the first part: “If Christ is in you the body is dead.” Then I stopped listening. I heard that first part, and immediately my mind was all over the place. How is your body dead if Christ is in you? I didn’t understand what it was trying to say. It didn’t make sense to me. I allowed my mind to wonder briefly as I tried to figure it out. Then I finally decided to look at the entire verse. Once I took the time to actually pay attention to the entire verse, it made complete sense. And, when I went back and read the entire thing, it was hard to understand how I didn’t get it the first time. But all I heard that first time was “if Christ is in you,” and that phrase was quickly followed by the word dead. I didn’t even pay attention to what the verse is clearly saying; I just jumped to quick conclusions. I feel stupid sharing that I responded in such a way, but I did. And it made me realize something about listening: I need to be a better listener.
So often I only listen to half of what God is trying to tell me. As I did in morning prayer that day, I will hear a part of something, and then I immediately go off into my own world trying to figure out the meaning. I end up wasting a lot of time because if I would focus and listen for a few more seconds, He would clear it all up for me without me even having to try to figure anything out. I spend so much time trying to figure out what God is trying to tell me or what everything means that I miss the answer. When I realized that about myself that morning, I felt like God was telling me I needed to take a chill pill and calm down. Instead of spending so much time talking, I need to spend more time listening. And being a better listener does not just mean that I listen to God when I am sitting in the chapel praying. I never know when God wants to speak something to me, so I have to always be ready to listen.