“You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence coming and going.” Psalm 139.4,5
Working closely with people for a long time carries a certain risk. We begin to know and understand each other in ways that are more informed, knowledgeable, and intimate. On the surface, this is a good thing. The danger comes when our familiarity leading to a tendency for one or more of the people involved to stop listening with the anticipation that they know what is going to be said long before the sentences are complete. We form working assumptions of people’s tones, nuances, motivations, and pet peeves. While the knowledge can help improve the strength and depth of relationships, it can also enable a habit of keeping things shallow and full of preconceived ideas.
I look back and see how I react to God like an old friend. I know what He wants from me, how displeased He is when I fail, and the price I must pay. I stop listening for the Voice and anticipate the priority of tasks ahead along with goals that I must achieve. There are frequent times when my arrogance is so large that I even think I know what motivates God and how He is working in other people’s lives. It is during these periods in my life that my stupidity is at it greatest!
I find it frustrating when people close to me assume they know what I am going to say in advance of when I say it. It is extremely irritating to be told what my inner nuances are when the conclusions reached do not reflect my thinking and motivations.
If I find this frustrating, just imagine how God must feel! My approach with God and people around me is changing. Listen before concluding. Hear fully, ask questions, and then understand. God is all around us; awesome good news given what He is saying to you and I.