We all have a need to be known, but many try to fulfill this need by being noticed. We work at being the center of attention, believing this will satisfy our need. The more “likes” or “followers” we garnish in the social media will surely demonstrate, how well we are loved and respected. However, is this the best way to meet this need? All of us love the company of people, who are active listeners that enjoy hearing, what we have to say, and remember these conversations. Such people have learned the secret of conquering the need to be known. Rather than be noticed, they are missed.
A great analogy is the bass player in a rock band. The patrons come to be entertained by the singer’s words and latest dance moves, or the masterful riffs of the guitarist, while the bass player is completely lost to the audience’s focus, until his guitar jack stops working and he cannot be heard. Suddenly, the bottom of the music vanishes, along with the strong beat which drives the music. Interest in the singer and the guitarist now wane, as the whole experience is lacking, because of the missing bass player’s contribution.
We can learn how to be a better active listener from Jesus’ example. He used informative questions to find out what was important and then allowed these people to express their feelings from their level of understanding. When Jesus met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He asked them what they were discussing, then what things had happened. He engaged them, showed His sincerity and interest in their thoughts (Lk 24:17-20). When the woman at the well expressed her beliefs about the prideful superiority of the Jews, since they did not associate with Samaritans, Jesus overlooked her negative emotions and pursued a conversation with her, helping her to discover her true need of eternal fulfillment (Jn 4:7-42). His questions always pointed people to the real issues in their lives, as he told the rich young ruler to go and sell all he had. The bottom line for him was that he placed Money before God (Mt 19:16-22).
People take delight, when we ask them questions, because it offers them an opportunity to share their opinions, and it solidifies in their mind that we are interested in getting to “know” them, in a relational rather than a superficial way. So, if you want to fulfill your need to be known, be missed rather than noticed.
SELAH (It’s all I’ll ever need)