“Quick, quick, slow, slow…”
“Quick, quick, slow, slow…”
Patty whispered to Steve. “Quick, quick, slow, slow…. That’s it! Keep going!”
Patty was teaching her son, Steve, the basic steps of the two-step dance. She knew he could learn it, and she found herself thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to teach him. He wanted to learn them before he attended his best friend’s wedding the next weekend with his girlfriend, Sadie, who grew up dancing. He looked forward to showing Sadie what he had learned.
When was the last time you had to learn a new step in a dance – the dance of relationships?
Quick, Slow, Slow: The Dance of Relationships
Relationships take time to develop, and they take time to grow. We think we have learned all the right steps to have a fulfilling relationship, and then something happens and we find ourselves struggling to make things work.
There is a dance that each of us needs to learn with specific steps for cultivating relationships. This dance I call the “quick, slow, slow” dance. Our relationships will grow stronger if we will follow the steps that God has given us in His word for this crucial dance.
“…let every person be
quick to hear,
slow to speak,
slow to anger….”– James 1:19 (ESV, emphasis added)
James 1:19 gives us the steps that God desires for us to use in our relationships. This dance will help us to look more to the interests of others and be less concerned about ourselves. (Philippians 2:3-4) Let’s look at each one.
1. Quick to hear…. Other translations say this as “quick to listen.” Are you quick to listen? To be quick to listen is to be quick to hear what thoughts and feelings the other person is expressing. I know that I struggle with this at times. I may be thinking of what to say next or maybe I am making assumptions about what is going to be said.
God tells us that we need to stop thinking about how we can inject our thoughts and feelings into a conversation and listen to what others are saying. I have seen how God works in the conversations I have when I take time to truly hear what is being said. I usually walk away from those conversations feeling like I know the person better, and when a friend truly listens to what I say, well, I feel valued.
2. Slow to speak…. Are you slow to speak? Earlier I mentioned that there are times where I find myself thinking of what I should say next. I am not being slow to speak in those instances. I must be slow to speak in order to be quick to listen.
God also desires for us to consider the words that come from our mouths. There are many Scriptures that talk about how powerful our words are. When I am slow to speak, I think carefully about how I will respond to the person I’m in conversation with. Will what I say be helpful or hurtful?
3. Slow to anger…. How often do you “fly off the handle” because you assume something about someone? Many times when we experience anger, it is because we have gotten the previous two steps of the dance turned around backwards. We become angry when we are quick to speak and slow to listen-when we focus on ourselves instead of thinking of others.
God desires for us to be self-controlled, not quick-tempered. When we follow the steps of this dance of relationships that God has outlined we will experience less anger as we love others.
This dance of relationships will take practice, just like Steve had to practice how to two-step. Take time to learn the steps, and then practice them. You will see a change in your relationships when you begin to focus more on your “dance” partner and less on yourself!