Our heads are noisy. The monologue of our thoughts is much louder than the sounds that come from rest of the world. It’s constantly droning on, pausing only long enough to receive what others are saying and translate it by absorbing it into what we’re already thinking.
No wonder we make wrong assumptions about our sweetheart.
And somewhere in all of this noise is God’s voice.
We feel certain that our thoughts are accurate, because we are the only person who has seen everything we’ve seen, learned everything we’ve learned, and believes everything we believe. The noise in our heads criticizes those who understand things differently.
No wonder projection controls our reactions more than empathy. When our sweetheart disagrees with us, it surprises us and our first instinct is to plot how to change his/her mind.
But this inner voice criticizes us as well. That noise in our head is selfish, afraid, angry. It’s protectively self-satisfied, self-important and self-justified. That noise pushes intimacy away.
This is why a good prayer life is so very important. Saint Paul advised us to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), because when we develop a running dialog with God, we get outside of our own heads, even while it feels like everything is taking place within our heads.
Empathy comes from God. Prayer quiets the self-important monologue and reminds us that God sees things differently than we do. He sees a bigger picture, the full picture. And the moment we grasp that reality, empathy takes over.
With empathy, it’s possible to amplify those too-quiet signals that our sweetheart is sending to us. With empathy, we quiet our own inner noise to ask: “How can I understand you better? Please explain. I’m listening.”
- What do I do to quiet my own thoughts so that I can hear God and my beloved better?
- When my sweetheart isn’t hearing me well, what works well to generate better understanding?
Strengthen your relationship:
Describe your prayer life to each other. How do you know when God’s voice is speaking in the midst of your own thoughts? What would you like to do to improve how well you hear God and/or others? After sharing ways to improve, turn these ideas into a prayer that asks the Holy Spirit to help make a difference.
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© 2018 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries