Today’s Truth

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19, NLT).

Friend to Friend

We are continuing to learn about how to listen – specifically, about how to be quick to listen. I have learned three practices that help me be quick to listen, and help me to listen to others like Jesus listens to me:

  • Listen for pain.
  • Listen for need.
  • Listen for dreams.

Nothing encourages someone like listening to and encouraging their dreams. Dan Southerland could encourage dirt! Seriously! I once told him, “Honestly, I think you could find something good in Satan. He thought for a minute and then said, “Well, he is consistent.”

Years ago, I learned a great definition of the word “encourage.” To “encourage” means to “put courage in someone.” That definition of “encourage” is literally found in the history books.

From the time our son Jered could hold a ball, he had a dream to play college football. Every day for eighteen years we encouraged that dream.

He aced the flag football experience he had in first and second grade – and then announced that he was bored and would wait until he could play tackle football. His first tackle football experience came in the fifth grade – in an optimist club league where you played on a team by weight class. He was a 95-pound fifth grader playing against 95 pound seventh and eighth graders, who had him big time in coordination and physical development. He did not see the field much and it was not an encouraging experience for him.

But he kept dreaming. And when he went out for football as a freshman in high school, weighing 195, he owned it. He played both offense and defense. The last three years in high school saw him get to 235 with dozens of colleges looking at him.

He paid for his college on a football and academic scholarship at a Division 1 school. He fulfilled his dream. His role was to work as hard as he possibly could – and he did. Our role was to keep encouraging him – and we did.

Nothing builds relationship currency like listening to someone’s dreams. When we listen to the hopes and dreams of those around us, it releases God’s power in their lives to go for it. And that often gives those dreams a jumpstart.

Choose to make listening to the thoughts and ideas of others more important than sharing your own thoughts and ideas.

  • We do that by listening to their pain.
  • We do that by listening to their needs.
  • We do that by listening to their dreams.

Andy Stanley – one of my favorite pastors and teachers – says it this way: “I care about you more than I care about my view.” Do people feel that way about how you love and listen?

My husband Dan majors in helping people see their dreams come to pass. For years, he has signed his texts and e-mails “I love you.” In recent years he has amended the way he signs off to “I love you – and I believe in you.”

Everyone in your life is looking for someone who will listen to their dreams. Everyone in your life is looking for someone to believe in them. Maybe that someone is you.

Let’s Pray

Father, You believe in me. You have dreams and hopes for me. You give me those dreams and hopes. I want to learn to listen to and encourage the dreams and hopes of others. Help me learn to listen for dreams.

In the Name of Jesus, who believes in me, I make this prayer.


Now It’s Your Turn

Ready to have some fun? Start listening for and encouraging the dreams of those around you. The word will get out that you will dream with people – and God will use you in a fresh and exciting way to help others become all they can be in Christ.

More from the Girlfriends

I think most people shudder at the thought of confrontation. But listening is a major part of confrontation in any healthy relationship. Need help? Check out Mary’s book, Sandpaper People for practical ways you can learn to listen to those difficult people in your life and confront them the right way.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook. If you would like to receive more devotions like this one, sign up for Mary’s Blog.

Need prayer? Our prayer team is committed to praying for you. Email your requests to our prayer team director, Ginger Meador, at

4 Responses to “Listening for Dreams”

  1. Carol says:

    What a wonderful devotion for this am!
    I just wish when I was younger, I had someone that would have told me this!
    It is a different perspective, from my own experiences, in my younger self.
    I want to be that person, I didn’t have in my life, to my younger church members.
    It seems in this season of life, so many negative things get in the way. Even in this time we are all experiencing, we need people to help others dream.
    Wouldn’t we all love to know, what words of encouragement, Jesus spoke to the little children He encountered?
    Bless you, Mary. Continue your encouragement to the rest of us!

  2. Kathy says:

    I love the girlfriends in God devotional. I read them everyday.
    Today’s was a little rough. My 27 year old son was a football player too. We “encouraged” him as well. It was his love….his passion. Still is!!! But even though he was on his high school team (with 100 other kids), he didn’t play until his senior year. And even though he had a growth spurt, he was only 5’7” then. He played defense….corner or safety. After senior year, he finally grew to 5’10” and got to 190 pounds. He found a college to take him (NAIA).
    I guess what I’m saying, sometimes you can encourage, and it doesn’t turn out the way you expect. My son’s body and heart are both very broken. He’s worked on his own at recovering from 3 herniated discs. If he was given a chance to play football today, I think he would!!!
    Anyway, thank you for your devotionals.

  3. Cathy says:

    Thank you Mary for these amazing lessons on listening. This one on dreams has encouraged me to be that encourager in a different way with my grandchildren! I want to be the grandmother to them that I never had. Bless you for your talent in sharing God’s word!

  4. Cheryl says:

    I have never submitted a comment before on any website ever, but today the Spirit led me.
    First, I want to thank you Mary for being direct, honest and encouraging all rolled up in one!
    I find that I often spend time, while in a conversation, thinking of what I will say next and neglecting to focus on the other person’s hurts, needs and desires. I want that to stop and I want to be that person that exudes love and encouragement and remembers hurts and requests and follows up on those with them! I desire to be “second” in my relationships, always putting others needs before my own!
    Second, I want to thank you for allowing the Lord to speak through you and use you in such an amazing impactful way. I am saving this devotional, really soaking it in and making it a POINT in future conversations with others to:
    * Listen for pain.
    * Listen for need.
    * Listen for dreams.
    Sincerely grateful ~ Cheryl

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