Today Emily concludes a 31 day series on hush. It’s so good y’all, and you know what? She practices it. She should get a gold medal in curious listening.
Over my mahi mahi and her Greek style pizza, Emily asks me below-the-surface questions about family and callings. After the third or fourth one, I tell her I’m not used to answering these kinds of questions because I’m usually the one asking them. I slow down and listen to my heart before speaking, but my answers still spill out all rambly. I haven’t practiced this.
It takes a different kind of hush to answer deep questions. For me to say the private things out loud, I must quiet the inner voice that says my story and experiences don’t matter. This doesn’t come natural to me. Unless you ask, I won’t easily volunteer my own stuff. Inner Kristen still fights to brush off the tender parts with an easy “fine.” Partly because I think my story isn’t newsworthy, partly because I think your story is, and partly because it’s less risky to do so. I know that sounds loco for the writer of a blog like mine. I share heart things here, but there’s always deeper places to travel. Our hearts are like the Old Testament tabernacle. Parts are for many at the entrance. Parts are a more holy place where safe people may cross the threshold. And still parts are for just you and God alone, a holy of holies.
When someone makes space in their conversation to ask how you’re doing really, you have the choice to remain hidden or come out in the open. When the person looks you in the eye and lets you know she is safe, it feels good to choose wide open spaces beyond the entrance, even if this risks tearing up or the ugly cry.
Jesus wasn’t into small talk, He was interested in the heart of everything. So we don’t only practice being good listeners, but we practice being good talkers, too. We get comfortable asking and answering the right questions and knowing when not to.
Do you struggle with sharing answers to below-the-surface questions? Is it easier for you to listen to others or listen to yourself?