Monthly Archives: April 2012

Open Doors

After writing about tarrying a bit in my last blog, my body had succumbed to a viral infection that affected my sinus and upper respiratory system. After long days and short nights or at least restless nights, my immune system weakened and opened the door for the virus.  The virus took advantage of the opportunity presented to it. Apparently, I needed to tarry a bit, rest and get better. I did, I did and I did.

There is an old adage that says that when God closes one door, He always opens another. I have no doubt of the truth in that but not all doors are opened by God. Some opportunities arise on their own and it is up to us to be led to and choose the right door. We should look for opportunities and take advantage of those that are good for us. But, just like in all things, we must examine what is right and good for us. Just because we have an opportunity, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good for us to take it.

Someone close to me, who had been out of work for a while, had an opportunity for a job and accepted. She was quite excited but soon felt that the work didn’t seem “kosher.” Although it wasn’t illegal, it went against her sensibilities. This fact nagged at her. I first recommended cautious acceptance, at least until she could learn more about the job. She may have just misunderstood the concept. She later decided that the job did not “fit.” She was uncomfortable with it. It didn’t last long anyway. Although the door was open, it was not the right door nor the right choice. Even if the job did work out, she felt very uneasy about it and I would have recommended that she look for something else.

Sometimes doors are open and we don’t even realize it. Many people wish they had a ministry or wish they knew what their purpose was. Maybe you are right where you need to be. You have an opportunity to be a fine example of whatever is being asked of you. Usually attributed to Francis of Assissi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” The door is always open for us to be a good example and to be uplifting. Even if you are waiting for an open door, use the opening you have right now to be the best person you can be, regardless of your stance on religion or spirituality. And even if you aren’t where you want to be, maybe you need to be here to get there.

Meditate on your circumstances to decide if you have chosen the right door and ask for guidance to choose the next door that opens. You never know what might be on the other side, but you can still attempt to make the most prudent decision possible. It is good to seek counsel, because our decisions, even when they seem objective, are still based on our own accumulation of experiences and knowledge. Seek wisdom from others, not because they are right but will test their opinions against their own experiences which may give you further insight.

I hope that you will always find open doors and that they will lead you to your full potential. So when God knocks on the door of your heart, it is your turn to open the door and say “Welcome. I know you are here, always were and always will be.”

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Tarry a bit

Yogi Berra stated, “when you come to the fork in the road, take it.” This is sage advice. It does not tell you which way to go but that you should go forward.

Times in our fast paced life can easily be tumultuous. We are sometimes so busy with the little things in our life that we forget to live, and we can unintentionally neglect what is important. We can also be so busy making a living that we forget to live. There was a time when I worked a full time job and two part time jobs to support my family. I know I did the right thing but I also missed out on quality time with my two young sons. This is time I can never get back. Kids grow up so fast!

In Proverbs 46:10a it says, “be still and know that I am God.” Sometimes, when we are faced with too many stresses, opportunities or paths that we are overwhelmed, we are paralyzed by fear or uncertainty. We might even be fortunate enough to have too many blessings to choose from. There are times when we should stop, tarry a bit, and seek the will of God in our life.

We have to balance our responsibilities with the people and things that are important to us.  This isn’t always easy.. We have tough choices to make. To make these decisions, we must take our time, seek counsel, and pray for direction. What is it that will lead us to our potential? How can we use the natural talents that we have to bring many others and ourselves joy. Our talents were meant to be shared.

So, when you come to that fork in the road, take it, but tarry first for a bit and choose the path that is best for you. God bless.

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Patterns

All around us are patterns. Patterns appear everywhere, even when they don’t. We are pattern creatures. Our brains are designed to look for patterns. Our brains examine and recognize thousands of faces. We see patterns in nature: in petals of flowers; sections of leaves; and in the structure of a snowflake. Our bent for patterns even allows us to see patterns where none exist. In the chaotic drifting of clouds, we often amuse ourselves picking out recognizable patterns.

We often find comfort in regular patterns in our lives, even when those patterns produce negative circumstances. We are sometimes afraid to move away from known circumstances that are unhealthy because we cannot be sure what change will bring, even when change might be positive. When we notice patterns in our lives where people care about us and build us up, where people show us that we are supported and loved, we feel more comfortable in changing our circumstances for the better. That is why we need to see and feel patterns that convince us that there are better alternatives. Negative patterns can be broken. When we recognize things are better, we need to be appreciative and thankful.

We need to recognize those patterns not only in our own lives but in the lives of those around us. It is so frustrating to try to help someone who seemingly does not want to be helped. It might be they are too fearful to attempt change. It might be they are too wrapped up in their negative pattern to see a way out. It might even be that they do not want to be helped. Early on, like many, I had to learn that you cannot change anyone, they must change themselves. I also had to learn that I did not always know what is best for them because of the limitations of my own experience. Because of those lessons, I had to learn that there are many that I am not able to help, that I might not be the one placed in their lives to lift them up. But, I just might be the seed that allows them to accept the one person who can.

When positive patterns  that we are comfortable with change, it can be disconcerting. When time set aside for sharing seems to end or slip away, it can leave one  to wonder why the pattern changed. What changed? Can we recapture it or make it better? Does it mark a time for growth or alert us to a problem that needs attention? Is it our time to move on?

Opposites or contrast can help us appreciate patterns. The Bible is filled with contrast: choose this not that; do this not that; wise vs. foolish; good vs. bad; positive vs. negative. Even our tastes are defined by contrast. We expect cookies to be sweet because the pattern has been that all the cookies we eat are sweet. We know sweet because we have tasted sour or bitter. We were trained by the patterns of our experience.

Habits are like patterns. They repeat and establish an expectation. I encourage us all to look for the blessings in life and be thankful for the gifts that abound whether it be God, nature or human endeavor. Your daily actions establish the pattern of who you are. Let that pattern be a positive one.