The Hard Work of Communicating
Ask any married couple, “What’s the hardest part of being married?"
Ask any business, “What’s the problem at the bottom of all the other problems?”
Why is this? After all, we have social media and all of these gadgets to help us communicate.
Communication is more than sharing information. Authentic communication is about sharing the self. And that’s why most of us aren’t good at it. We really don’t try.
We aren’t interested in many people knowing who we are—who we really are. And most of us aren’t really interested in knowing who the other person is. So, we don’t really listen.
To communicate takes a lot of effort.
We have to think about what we want to say, then how we want to say it. We have to understand how the other person will hear what we’re trying to communicate, then what they’ll do with the information.
To listen means we have to pay attention not only to what’s said, but how it’s said, when it’s said, and what’s expected in return. That’s a lot of work.
If we want to communicate—really communicate—this means we have to work a little harder at it. We have to understand there’s no substitute for the time required. There’s no app called “Attention.”
The bad news is it takes work. The good news is the work pays off.
We can get better at it. It just takes a little effort, a little focus. After all, the most precious gift you can give to another is the gift of your attention.
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