What’s Your Listening Style?

Bear – Deer – Porcupine – or Puppy? AA027448

Mama bear’s fierce protection of her cubs is well known.  Mama can growl about and discipline her cubs, but don’t you dare get between Mama and her baby!

I can relate to that fierce loyalty and protective instinct – the motive is always good, but acting out before evaluating can be misdirected.  Totally focused, Mama Bear’s plan (for itself or for its charges) is simple, constructive, and not to be deviated from at your own danger.

Bear’s listening style: Act first, listen later. My lesson: Stop and run to the Lord for direction first…and listen for instruction before acting.  One of the disciples in this “clip” had the right idea…asking – “Lord, should we…” but one of them just acted on emotion. Emotions are good, and a gift from God, when controlled by God. But let loose, that rubberband bouncing ball of emotions can lead to havoc.

Luke 22:49 And when those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
Luke 22:50 And a certain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
Luke 22:51 But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.

Bambi – wide-eyed and innocent – and digitally enhanced so much that  all I see are those big innocent chocolate eyes. it is easy to lose sight of her quick analytical skills –  observant, alert, and self-effacing, the deer is sure-footed, finding peace and fulfillment from a distance – in the background.  It’s greatest ability is also the point of its greatest vulnerability.  Thus the deer’s plan is to intentionally place itself at risk – the Paul Revere of the forest. First response may be I’m not sure if I can do that, but once committed, totally loyal and exacting to the finish.

Deer’s listening style:  Guarded and from a safe distance. My lesson: Remove my ego from the circumstance. View the situation from a distance, listen as though I am watching a movie – hearing someone else. Evaluate what I see and hear. When I have the facts, I can commit to respond instead of react.

Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

j0302829Porcupine appears unapproachable – even dangerous, but in actuality its entire body could be looked at a disguise of self-preservation.  Blunt, sharp words can be wounding or life-saving depending on the delivery and the circumstances. While the Porcupine’s plan seems emotionless and “pointed” at others, it is only protecting its tender heart from expected misfortune.

Porcupine listening style: Sefl-defense – always on alert – thinking of a sharp answer instead of listening. My lesson: Turn off my defensive self-talk by asking questions. Will my words wound others? What if this were my issue, my question, how would I want others to react to it?  I can protect my heart by choosing not to be offended, and responding with the grace I’d like to receive.

Matt. 12:37 Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.

Did you see the movie 101 Dalmations?  All those adorable puppies were not in competition with one another but blissfully happy to simply “be” in existence and to bring joy to others.  That visible joy and open personality (especially vocally) could be a difficulty for others who seek reasoning behind action.  The Dalmation’s “plan” doesn’t really exist because it is totally spontaneous, totally flexible, and always fun!

Dalmation listening style: Don’t! Just have fun!  My lesson: Be cautious to not get carried away with teasing or jesting.  What starts out as fun can get out of control and hurt someone.

Luke 6:25     And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself.
Your self will not satisfy you for long. And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games.

There are many other examples of how we listen – or don’t. I pray these examples from God’s creation will speak to you as they have to me.


Inspired by Scripture, God’s Creation and life lessons

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