Listen before you answer. – Proverbs 18:13 GNT

Modern technology is wonderful. I can now keep in touch with my kids, who live in various states, and my brother in Alabama on a daily basis. I can send and receive pictures, memes, messages. I can encourage, remind, inform.

What I can’t do is deal with a frustrating software function on my phone that changes my words while I’m typing. It’s called “autocorrect.”

While its purpose is to correct common spelling and typing errors and save time, it doesn’t always save time and it doesn’t always correct correctly. Hence I’ve dubbed it “autoINcorrect” because a good deal of the time it changes the word to one I didn’t intend.

I admit, my fat fingers fly on the tiny keyboard and often hit the wrong key, but I’m perfectly capable of noticing and correcting my own mistakes. After all, I’m a writer, editor, and former English teacher. I know my grammar – so well one of my editing clients calls me a “Grammar Nazi.”

So I’m more than irked when Otto Korreck (another name I dubbed the irritating function) changes my words and hence the meaning. How dare it! I know what I intend to say. Otto doesn’t. Otto only thinks he knows what I intend to say.

One day while retyping and resending a message – and grumbling about the time wasted correcting Otto’s mistake – it hit me: I can be like Otto.

I, too, can misinterpret what another person is saying because I assume what the other person means. I don’t listen. I’ve tuned them out because my mind is reviewing the story I want to tell (related to what the other person is saying, of course) when he pauses long enough for me to jump in with my two cents.

I act like I’m listening. I nod, murmur appropriate phrases to show my (fake) sympathy or understanding. But my mind is all but truly listening.

Listening is different than hearing.

Hearing happens. We hear sounds all the time – the dishwasher running, a neighborhood dog barking (or cow mooing), traffic on the road, wind chimes. Some we block out; some we stop and listen to.

Listening is a conscious act that you choose to do. It requires concentration and time to allow your mind to process the sounds.

My mother was good at hearing but not truly listening. It irked me to no end because I just needed someone to listen (and commiserate). I didn’t need the preaching and teaching session she launched into when I was done. I wondered if she really heard and understood what I was saying. She was too busy preparing her message to really listen to me.

Do I do the same? Do I only hear other people and not truly listen to them?

Listening involves the heart. Listening involves shutting off my mind to the stories and things I want to say. Listening means putting the other person’s needs first. After all, it isn’t about me.

The person probably doesn’t need me trying to fix her problem. She just wants to vent. She just needs someone to listen with compassion and sympathy, someone to squeeze her hand or give her a hug.

In his epistle, James tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19).

The Amplified version expands the meaning and tells us to be careful, thoughtful listeners, and when we do speak, to carefully choose our words so they show we’re reflecting on what was said (and thus listening).

Don’t be another Otto Korreck. Listen with your heart.

Remind me, Lord, that I have two ears and one mouth. Help me to use them to minister to others. Amen.

Read and meditate on Philippians 2:3–4.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.


Friday, Oct. 12, 1–3 p.m. at B’s Books, Etc., 122 East Mahoning St., Punxsutawney , PA

I’ll be signing copies of my newest release. My other titles will also be available. Hope to see you there!

The words of the song “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof have long resonated within my soul. Indeed one season follows another in the story of our lives, bringing challenges, disappointments, and heartaches, but not without splashes of hope and sprinklings of happiness. This collection of devotional readings, an excellent resource for holiday programs and publications, gives fresh meaning to the seasons and holidays of the year. So pour yourself a cup of tea, grab your Bible, and head for your comfy chair to savor a cup of inspiration, a spoonful of encouragement, and a generous outpouring of the milk of God’s love. SELAH!

Available in Kindle edition ($2.99) and print book ($14.99) on Amazon. If you’d like a personally autographed copy, contact me at


“Her devotions read like she is sitting across from you just sharing from her heart.” – Diana Pederson

“Michele Huey’s gift is to take God’s Word and translate it into deep-in-the-trenches, real-life solutions for our everyday problems. In this series of seasonal devotions, she takes us by the hand and shows us how to turn our stresses into joyful nuggets of wisdom that keep us going day after day. Michele helps us grow a rich tapestry of faith spring, summer, fall, and winter.” – Patricia Lorenz, inspirational, art-of-living writer and speaker, author of seven books and top contributing writer to the Chicken Soup for the Soul books

“What better way to enjoy the seasons than curled up in a comfortable chair with a steaming cup of tea and a spoonful of encouragement from one of Michele Huey’s delightful books!” –Cyndy Salzmann, Christian author and speaker

“Your words always touch my soul. Beautiful. You write in such a way that it makes me feel like I’m there in the situation you are telling.” – Ribcca, blog reader

“I read Michele’s newspaper column with a pen and my journal, because she always gives some nugget of spiritual wisdom that I want to record.” –Betsy Sisitki