The Open Door

photo (2)

Its has often been said, “when one door closes another one opens”. While “others” say, “when one door closes, a window opens”. So what happens when a door opens? Does one instinctively go through it? Is one cautious and pensive all-the-while staring in doubt that the door is actually open?

Are there particular feelings that come when you walk through that door? Is there joy? Trepidation? A sense of freedom? A sense of accomplishment? Is it really about the door or about the One who opened it in the first place?

Journey with me, won’t you? I’ve gone through many doors in the past four-plus decades. Some because I shoved them open – most of which didn’t end well. Some doors were open when I found myself in a particular season of life. I stood in front of some doors hoping and praying they would open at any moment. Some doors were open right in front of my eyes and I couldn’t see them. Probably because it was a door I wouldn’t have picked. I learned to trust in God’s timing. I learned to listen to and then obey how and where the Holy Spirit was leading me. Yet, I would sometimes think to myself, “was this door opened by God, or not?”.

You see, I understand that God is Sovereign in my life. He loves me, I matter to Him. I’m passionate about a deep intimate relationship with Him. So I choose to sit as His feet and glean from every Word He pours out from His Book, the Holy Bible. That is the first door I open each day. I take a step into an intimate relationship with Jesus everytime I open it. It is a door that opens me up to a world that, by some, is quickly forgotten between Sundays. From Genesis to Revelation – the Creation, the Fall, the Redemption through Jesus Christ, and God’s ongoing Restorative work. Its all in there, behind the door, inside the covers of the Great Book. It’s there where I find the answers to the many questions that brew in my heart along the way. I choose to walk through that door because I want to grow to be more like Him. A few decades ago, when I was a teenage girl, I heard Jesus knocking on the door of my heart. I answered and let Him in to have control over my life. Since then He has shown me door after door after door hidden in the stories that fill His Book….the possibilites have been endless.

How about you? Has he been knocking on the door of your heart? Will you answer Him? When was the last time you picked up The Bible and spent some time discovering Jesus?

God has a plan for you. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.

I don’t know if you see it, but there are a lot of “doors” in that passage alone. Hope. Future. Prayer. All with the promise of finding God!!

Many people have asked me how I got to be where I am in my life (as much as I sense a compliment in that question, I just believe I am on MY journey….not anyone elses). Many have also said, “they could never hear the LORD the way I do”.   Again, sensing another compliment, but left thinking that EVERYONE who professes to be a follower of Christ can have such an initmate relationship with Him. I know I am NOT unique.

Years ago, a mentor shared a guideline that she followed. The acronym is FAT.

F – stands for FAITHFUL. Staying the course. Putting one foot in front of the other. Doing as you should even when you don’t feel like it. Thankfully, we serve a God who will ALWAYS be faithful. We need not worry about His end of the deal.

A – stands for AVAILABLE. Having margin in your life. Unlike the days where our schedules are so full that if a feather fell on our heads we’d collapse. Making room on your full plate. What are the things you are carrying that you don’t need to? Often we pray to receive from God what we think we want or need and we wonder why we aren’t getting it. Maybe there is no room in our hands. Perhaps you’re doing work that someone else is capable of doing, or responsible for? (Hey, busy moms, several women have shared lately that they find it hard to get through the many tasks of the day. My question to them has been “can the kids help out with age-appropriate tasks so you can find some extra minutes in your day to do what God has laid on your heart?”).

T – stands for TEACHABLE. How open is your heart to learn new things? Perhaps learning old things in a new way. What is it that God wants you to learn through the situations that touch your life? Are you willing to surrender what you need to in order to be who God wants you to be?

As I shared this with a friend recently, she responded with the following. “We know we are not FAT when we let our EGO get in the way”. She then told me what EGO stood for.

EGO = Edging God Out. Yikes….definitely NOT the way I want to live my life.

How about you…..

Will this be the year you go through a door to become faithful, available, teachable OR will you let your ego get in the way?

Advertisements

I didn’t like what I was wearing.

Perhaps you are having that kind of day. You woke up for a new day, went through your morning routine that may or may not include some solitude or reflection. You look in your closet and say the old famous phrase “I have nothing to wear”, which by the way is not exclusively used by children. You have a couple “go-to” outfits that make you feel strong, confident, powerful on those days that you need an extra boost or fresher pick-me-up. But for some reason you shrink back to “I have nothing to wear” because this day is a tough one. There are things in your day that even the most popular fashion-magazine-cover-outfit won’t be good enough. There are people in your day that just don’t “accept you for who you are”. There are places you need to go where what you are wearing might make you stand out more than you’d like. Are you there? Are you having one of those days now? Maybe you did yesterday and today you are wallowing in the guilt of your choices.

Well, I did. I had a day….several over the years most of which were accompanied with a lack of understanding. I thought that I could wear a great outfit, have my hair just right (that one I still struggle to let go) and say all the right things, go to all the right places, buy all the right things and the pain would go away. Needless to say….IT DIDN’T WORK.

My heart still ached from the pain of the rejection. The anger and accusations ran deep. “No outfit was going to cover that shame,” I would find myself thinking. I still didn’t like what I was wearing.

As I surrendered my will to God for me to look the way I wanted, God showed me His way for me.  He showed me what I needed to wear instead, how I needed to clothe myself so that I would experience a deeper intimacy with Him and share His glory with the world.

First outfit of the day. My armour. I was to put on my spiritual armour.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The enemy is prowling around like a lion waiting for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Is it you? The armour protects us from his attack. His attack will come sometimes in subtle ways while at other times, a full on barrage of arrows. The armour protects us and doesn’t allow those hurtful and stinging arrows to penetrate our hearts and minds. Author, Neil Anderson reminds us “satan’s main objective is to blind the minds of unbelievers” (see 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). He goes on to say, “satan’s next strategy is to deceive, tempt and accuse believers, causing them to live defeated lives”.

The protection from the armour becomes crucial in our walk with Christ.

Verses 14-17 describe each piece of the outfit of armour. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes ladened with the gospel of peace, shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit. Sounds heavy like the picture we get when we see David suit up to go before Golaith. But when we choose to put on our spiritual armour in this way, the heaviness of the task ahead of us is lifted.

The second way we are to “get dressed” is being mindful in how we clothe ourselves. There are several verses in the Bible that give us instruction on the “how to” of clothing ourselves. Making reference to how we “clothe our hearts”, the attitude of our hearts in a particular situation.

I want to focus on Romans 13:14, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature”.

Here’s why…..the other day I was in a situation where I didn’t like what I was wearing. Thus the inspiration to write this because I don’t think I am alone.

By now, hopefully you are realizing that I am not really talking about my clothes, but rather my physical appearance, I am talking about my heart attitude and how I was responding in a particular situation. Rather, how I wanted to respond. Rest assured I did take the high road.

You see, I was with people that have hurt me deeply. I had forgiven them, before this day, and was genuinely walking in that forgiveness. But that day, for various reasons, I was not able to stand firm in that forgiveness. I felt weak, unprotected, unable to shine for Jesus, if you will. I was not liking the attitude of my heart. My heart was in an irritable, annoyed, turned-off, couldn’t-be-bothered, mean-spirited kind of state . You see, I was on the brink of “gratifying my sinful nature”. My flesh.

My belief is strong that the world, the flesh and the devil are the three things that pull me away from representing Christ well and from being in deep intimacy with Him.

In this particular situation that day, I was initially ready to dive in with that forgiveness. Did I mention, I also forgot to put on my spiritual armour that day?

My flesh was screaming for acceptance from the person. My flesh was wallowing in my negative attitudes. My mind was (falsely) thinking that “I deserved better than this”. Can you see the arrows?

In the meantime, I was being robbed of joy in the moment. I was super distracted and the whole situation became about me instead of the opportunity to show God’s glory through the forgiveness I had granted them.

I believe that the Holy Spirit gave me the strength to keep my mouth shut, or perhaps shut it for me. He does that you know, and yet we still want the credit for His work. His clothing. So I chose grace in that moment. I chose respect. I chose kindness (that was a hard one to type). I chose to confess in my heart (1 John 1:9) and clothe myself with Jesus Christ instead of giving into my flesh. Slowly the anger and irritation subsided. That day, “I changed my clothes”. With God’s help.

REFLECTION:

What are you wearing?

What do you need to change in your outfit?

What will you put on today that will make you stand out for Jesus?