There is incredible strength in letting other people lead. Having discernment in speech when you are part of a particular setting or conversation is key to ensuring that the people you are with feel loved and honored. Listening without judgement, interruption, or advice is a fundamental expression of love.
Each of us will be called to different roles throughout our lives. We will be asked to both lead and to follow. When you show up to a meeting, a gathering, or a one on one conversation, discerning when to speak or when to listen is clear at times and confusing at others. What is always true is that the person/people you are with need to know that they are seen and heard. Whether you are leading or participating, listening is part of the role. If speaking is part of the role as well, the words that are used and when they are spoken should be given much consideration.
Whatever role you find yourself in when you are in community, embrace it. Let thought and effort be put into making sure every person is given the space to live out their roles. This means putting energy into considering when to speak and how to listen. The communities that exist with ease, productivity, and growth are the ones where everyone is doing their part. This necessitates that each person support each other without intruding on the roles of others. It can be difficult to watch something happen that you want to correct or improve. You may think you have a better idea and want to find a way to insert your thoughts when they are not invited. In these cases, when it’s not a matter of urgency and it is not your role, it is time to step back and give the other person their space. There are many ways to get from point A to point B. Your way might be the best way, from your perspective. Someone else might have another way of looking at the same thing. Let others offer what they have. Receive it with joy. When it’s your time, offer yourself with love.
It is a delicate thing to discern when your guidance and initiative matter and belong in a conversation or plan. If you’re asked, go for it with love and care. If it’s your role, lead in a way that values everyone. If you want to speak just because you think you’re right or the other person is wrong, think twice. Letting others be right creates a space where you can lead when it’s your time.