Did You Hear That?

There’s a scent in my nostrils.  No, it’s not the lingering aroma of the infamous shrimp and wild rice dish my father prepared earlier.  Actually, I believe it’s more of a stench, and the stench appears to be coming from me.  Uh oh…

Recently, I’ve learned that sometimes I can be quite imbalanced – carrying a bit too much of “me” and not quite enough of “you”.  Girlfriends, that’s a cute way of saying that I can just be downright selfish.  There!  I said it!  Sadly, my sisters, I am often a bit rusty when it comes to hearing the needs of others, especially the unspoken needs.

A good servant has ears that are tuned to the spoken as well as the unspoken needs of those around her.  She’s not a mind reader, but she is a discerner.  How on earth do I think I can live, lead, or love like Jesus if I’m not a good servant?  On a more practical level, how on earth do I expect to be fruitful in everyday relationship if I’m not a good servant?

Lately, I’ve been learning some very valuable lessons about discerning the needs of those closest to me.

I’m learning that I have often found it easier to serve my church than to serve those under my own roof or in my inner circle.  For me the difference is simple.  Organized service is usually directed service.  The organization expresses its need(s).  I fill the need(s) according to my gifts.  All is well.  However, those closest to me aren’t always as good at this level of articulation.

This year, my friends went far above and beyond the call of duty to make my birthday (earlier this month) the most special birthday I can remember.  Seriously ladies, I’m a HUGE birthday girl, and trust me, 38 was “exceeding, abundantly above all” (Ephesians 3:20) that I could have asked for or dreamt of!  The events of the day made it obvious that someone listened closely to my spoken words over time and remarkably discerned my unspoken needs for this birthday, as well.

Sadly, somehow in the midst of the “all about me” birthday festivities I missed a few (yes I said a “few”) valuable opportunities to discern the unspoken needs of a friend during a critical time of transition.  The revelation weighs heavy on my heart today, and this is already serving as a growth opportunity I won’t soon forget.

It’s confession time again.  As an unmarried woman with no children, countless years of self-dedication have made my servant ears become a bit rusty when it comes to discerning the unspoken needs of those around me, and I have missed valuable opportunities to meet those needs.  I learned that pretty quickly recently, and I must say the stench of my misstep could send a skunk to shield his nostrils.

As always we look to Christ as our example.  Because of who He was, it could have been all about Him all the time, but it never was, was it?  He was always in tune with the needs of others.  Since we are not the picture of perfection that He was, we will continue to miss some opportunities to serve the unspoken needs of those around us.  However, today we can ask the Lord to transform our hearts and tune our ears to hear the spoken AND to discern the unspoken needs of others.  And then, let’s promise to act.  Will you join me in making this request?

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