How To Listen And Not Hear

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

There is this passage in Revelation that talks about the Wind Words of God. I have never heard that term used before. Quiet honestly I kind of glazed over it as I continued reading chapter 2 and on into 3. But as I later reflected back on the passage I could not grasp what the heck a Wind Word was. That was until I missed one key element of the passage. A word that was hidden that I could not see. Here is the passage to check out:

Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. (the Message)

I missed the word Listen. Wind Words do not make sense unless they are preceded by the word Listen.

I have been doing a lot of thinking the past four weeks about what my One Word (a great series that Alece Ronzino aka @gritandglory did for the New Years) would be. I started to feel like a failure because it took me that long to come up with anything, let alone one word. But as I continued to wrestle with what my word would be the the very answer was in the reason I could not figure out what my word needed to be.

I hear a lot of noise each day. Tons of noise comes through my headphones from talk radio, music, and phone conversations. I hear and have conversations with friends, strangers and family each day. Spend some time with the noise of entertainment, and even listen to my own noise that comes out of my mouth. I am surrounded by noise daily.
The problem with this noise is it caused me to do a lot of hearing but no listening.

There is a huge difference between hearing and listening.

Hearing allows you to be selective
Listening makes you focus

Hearing has no filter
Listening causes you to filter

Hearing is a passive activity
Listening is an active participation

My One Word for 2011 is Listen.
My theme for 2011 is to Listen.

To Listen to my family
To Listen to my friends
To Listen to the hurting
To Listen to the prophets
To Listen to the wise
To Listen to the beauty
To Listen to the passionate

But to ultimately Listen to the Wind Words of God.

Because often times words just becomes something we might hear but never listen to, and wind becomes something we feel but we never see. But when we stop to listen and start to pay attention to the Words of God much like the wind they cause something to be moved.

Do you have One Word for 2011?


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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • Jason Vana

    Great word for 2011!

    I actually was inspired by Justin Wise to do 3 words for 2011 about a week before I even heard of One Word 2011, so I have three:
    – Courage (to make the changes that need to be made)
    – Trust (even when it seems nothing is working out)
    – Grow (my ministry and myself)

    But if I were to limit it down to one, it would be Courage. That’s the one resonating the most in my heart.

    • Kyle Reed

      huge, courage trumps fear…which is a big one for me as well.

      • Jason Vana

        That’s actually why I felt led to choose Courage as my top word. I’ve recently taken some steps of faith that have made me deal with quite a bit of fear (especially fear of failure), but I don’t want 2011 to end and be in a place of regretting not moving forward.

  • Allison

    “Hearing allows you to be selective. Listening makes you focus”

    I love your word Kyle! My One Word is FOCUS. Your word plays out big time for me as well. Especially in my relationships. For example the other day I was out with a friend for lunch and I was truly interested in what she was talking about. And then…my phone beeped with a text message. It took alot for me to ignore it and to choose to stay focused on the time with my friend and listen to what was going on in her world. I struggle to listen and listen well…anxious to see how “listen” plays out for you this year.

    • Kyle Reed

      I do the exact same thing.
      I try to be fully present, but when I see a text message come in and I really want to check it and see what is happening. Usually it is a let down, but I am always curious.

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  • Dustin

    So true. Often I’ll be like, “I hear you…” but in reality, I’m not listening (thus, connecting, communicating and engaging). Thanks for sharing!

    • Kyle Reed

      exactly, I do the same

  • Michael

    Man this is really good. This is something that I’ve been really convicted about.

    • Michael

      I’m sorry I did have a one word for 2011. It was “Story” and I did a vlog about it a few weeks back. For the last 2 years especially I’ve lived, but not really lived. I want to spend the year focusing on my “Story.” I want it to be better.

      • Kyle Reed

        Yes, I saw that video a couple of weeks ago.
        We all need to live a better story…working on that now.

  • Jason

    That’s an awesome word, dude. I had to learn the lesson the hard way but truly listening can really make a big difference in relationships. At least, it has for me. Good luck with that this year!

    • Kyle Reed

      yes, I am hoping to work on this all year (and for the rest of my life)
      What is one piece of advice you have for getting better at this?

  • Nathan

    wow. this is a great post. thanks for sharing. I’m going through a lot of the same thought processes myself. I feel as though I am hearing a lot of stuff, but I am not choosing to listen to the One who matters most of all. I think it’s about time. =)

    • Kyle Reed

      exactly, all that stuff drowns out the good stuff.

  • Kate

    ” are your ears awake?”
    i feel like everything stems from this one statement.
    if we dont truly hear(aka listen) then we dont think, then we dont grow our knowledge, if we dont grow our knowledge our imagination falters…it all goes down hill…what am i hearing? am i listening to God’s word or man’s?

    my word is Koinonia. It means communication by intimate participation.

    • Kyle Reed

      Yes, it does all hinge on that. And I loved your word btw. Busting out a little greek, i like that.

  • Kamrie

    Copy cat!!!I guess this is just one of the many ways we think alike my brother. However, it is starting to get a little creepy. Now wecan practice our listening skills with kels and dad.

    • Kyle Reed

      ya, i did kind of copy off of you but like I told you earlier on the phone, I did read your post but forgot that was your word. The good thing is we can support each other with this.
      Now go and read some Bonhoeffer

  • Prudence

    This is great Kyle!

    • Kyle Reed

      thanks prudence

  • Josh

    Good stuff, man. My word for 2011 is lean….proving to test me already.

    • Kyle Reed

      lean, okay now I have to go read about this

  • Kate

    Haha:) most american words don’t really have any depth. I’m still ready to kick your butt at hand and foot btw

    • Kyle Reed

      ha thats funny…especially coming from someone who has never played.

  • alece

    i can’t help but feel a buzzing excitement over what you are truly going to hear this year… from others, from the Holy Spirit, from the depths of your own heart.