“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak,…” James 1:19
This year I fulfilled one of my long term blogging goals by participating in a 31 day writing challenge at write31days.com . I can’t say it has been easy. I’ve fallen behind in writing on some days, on worse days I’ve forgotten to post what I’ve written.
I chose to write 31 Days of Mindfulness for Christians. In the past I read great things about the benefits of mindfulness for those with ADHD. Initially I was turned off by the Eastern religious element to mindfulness, but with enough searching I found plenty of mindfulness and meditation teachings and practices that were completely secular. My 31 day series is intended to be mindfulness for Christians.
I encourage you to click here or “31 Days of Mindfulness” at the top of this blog site and check out some or all of the short, basic, and introductory topics related to mindfulness. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read the research on mindfulness and management of ADHD symptoms in adults.
This blog entry below is from day 26 of this mindfulness series.
Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages communicated to us. Listening requires focus. As we will later learn from James, listening and hearing are two different things. Hearing is about sound perception or being informed of something.
The purpose of listening is to: obtain information, understand what is being communicated to you, and to learn.
As a woman with ADHD, I can’t say that I’m slow to speak. When my ADHD behaviour lets loose I can speak a lot; more than I personally care to. I’m not always quick to listen either. Learning to not go into a deep ADHD daydream when my mind isn’t being stimulated can be a real challenge for me. This verse is one that I’ve meditated on in the past. Despite having ADHD, I’ve had to embrace the challenge of learning to slow my mind down enough to engage in active listening while communicating with others.
Fellowship and respect for others requires that we listen to others; not just hear, but actually listen. James warns us to be, “… doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they are like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act – they will be blessed in their doing” (James 1:22-25).
God wants us to listen to others with the same attention and care that He gives to us. If we don’t listen and hear what others are sharing with us, we are not truly paying attention to the other person. A lack of attention is a lack of care.
I do want to clarify and point out that I don’t believe James is chastising those of us who have issues with executive functions. We are not wicked nor are we bad or dishonest. Our sometimes inability to pay full attention and remember important information is not a result of sin, it is a result of a disorder. However, as believers it is imperative that we do work towards managing and improving our listening skills to the best of our ability. God never wants or accepts excuses; He asks us to be honest about our efforts to be holy.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, so remember to give yourself grace, patience, and love when learning to listen well.
If you have trouble listening during interactions, sermons, bible studies, or group activities; don’t forget to pray to God and ask for His help and strength in building your listening skills.
If necessary, let others know that you have ADHD; this can go a long way in avoiding misunderstandings about you.
If you need additional resources, the following linked articles might be of help to you.