One of the problems, I’m realizing, is I listen to consume.
I’m highly intentional with many of my regular routines, but several of those are turning out to be only half good. After school, I ask my children about their days. During dinner, we share highs and lows. While I run, I podcast interviews with diverse thinkers. But in most of these situations, I’m listening to gather information rather than to marinate in some experience outside myself.
No wonder I have trouble praying.
An hour yesterday stuck in the car flipping radio stations confirmed much around me is noise. Partly, I’m uninspired to listen deeply because so little of what surrounds me requires it. Billboards, commercials, sit coms, pop music and most of the internet demand attention but require very little of it. More of my energy is spent managing the competition than considering the content.
As a counterpoint to all the noise, my devotion this week will be to listen to only one song. (In this case, Bach’s Preludio from Partita No. 3 in E)
Might I listen more naturally in conversation or prayer if I exercise deep listening muscles in other dimensions of life? Will constant exposure to something masterful make me more willing to turn off the chatter (around me and coming out of my own mouth)? Can steeping in music teach me something about steeping in the living words of others and in the Living Word?