"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger ..." (James 1:19 ESV)
Having open ears and an open mouth don't work well together. To truly listen, we must cease speaking—including the internal dialogue in our minds. This is an obvious truth that's decidedly difficult to follow. While we may appear to be listening, the reality is, our thoughts are constantly running.
To be good listeners, we must tame our minds as well as our mouths. When must learn when to speak and when to remain silent. And we must teach our minds to do the same. We need to learn how to mentally sit before the Lord like Mary and listen—to let our version of what's urgent and necessary be reshaped by Christ, to help our mind rest in Him by reminding ourselves that He knows everything that's needed.
As counselors, we can't truly be silent and listen to our clients until we've taught our minds to be silent and listen to God. In other words, our walk with Christ is a prerequisite to walking well with our clients.
Do not neglect your walk with God.
When we're in step with Jesus, we'll be well prepared to care for our clients. We're reminded of our proper role—ambassadors of Christ and ministers of reconciliation. We seek to help our clients hear more from the Lord than they do from us.
So, let us regularly speak God's grace and truth into our clients' lives while also remembering that God is more than able to speak for Himself. Let us feed our souls on the Bread of Life so that we remember there's nothing better or more valuable to offer our clients. Let us be slow to speak, leaving space without human words so that the Spirit of God may whisper words of life to us and our clients.