Hallway Publishing

Are you open to life? – Guest Post by Dolly Lee

Grace Inspired Press is blessed to have Dolly with us today sharing her words. She is a very talented blogger and has a beautiful heart for God. Thank you for being with us Dolly!

Are you open to life?

By Dolly Lee 

Photo source: Creative Commons, Flickr user PaulTomlin http://www.flickr.com/photos/paultomlin/3853270725/

Do you ever look for life in the wrong places?

Pastor Scott slowly walked out on a log, and then he cast his fly near the center of the stream, where he thought the fish were hanging out. He listened for any sound of a trout.

Fly-fishing requires one’s eyes and ears. As he quieted, he realized that the rhythmic, sucking sound fishes make when eating was coming from five feet behind him to the left of the log.  He had walked over that spot because he did not expect to find any trout there. He slowly turned his head, and saw a large rainbow trout feeding on mayflies. Not wanting to scare the trout away by suddenly moving on the log, he slowly swiveled to his left, lifted up his fly, and dropped it into the current a foot upstream from the snacking trout.

The fish were not where he expected, but instead they were where he wasn’t expecting to find fish. Likewise, God can be breaking into a barren place in our lives. But are our eyes and ears open to where He is moving?

Are we open and aware of what God is doing in our lives? Are we paying attention?
 
There have been times when I worked so hard to make something happen in one area of my life that I wasn’t paying attention to God, and what He might have in mind.

Do you ever get so focused on your plans, and forget to check in with God? Maybe, He has other plans for you.

Scott’s fly fishing story spoke to me because so often I think God should be doing “X” in my life. But He is not. And then I have to ask myself to be open to what He is doing, and where He is trying to lead me.

Liz, a spiritual director, once told me that being open to what God is doing in one’s life is the first step to spiritual growth. If God is the one who ultimately causes me to grow spiritually, then it makes sense to be open to Him.

When I am open to God’s work, I cooperate with Him in the process. Jesus is the Vine (the source of my life), and God the Master Gardener, is pruning and shaping me to be fruitful (i.e., make a difference).

If I am stuck on what I think I need to do, or what I think my life should look like, then I am not open. When I focus on my agenda, I close my eyes and my ears to what is actually going on in all of my life. And without intending to be, I can be closed to God’s work, and love.

Often, I pray and ask God to help me to  be aware of where there is life. Where am I sensing His joy? My delight in doing something, as opposed to what I should do. I ask God for the grace to be open, because I am not naturally open.

How do we create openness within ourselves? We create space within ourselves by not being constantly consumed by work, the internet, people, or the myriad of tasks that can fill our days. It might mean taking a walk to talk with God. It may mean carving out 10 minutes a day, or an extended time with God for a half-day, all day, or a weekend to pray, read His Word, and journal. It will look different for each of us depending on our temperament, and where we are in our spiritual journey, and season of life.

If Jesus needed to get away to be alone with God (Matt. 14:22-23), then why wouldn’t we also need time alone with God?

We can also create openness by asking questions.

 
“I try now to approach each person, event, creature, with two questions: How are you my teacher? What am I meant to learn?” Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Our Life


For me, I ask God, “What are you trying to teach me?” I journal about where I sensed His life and delight in a day, and where I felt stressed, or ungrateful. As I journal daily, when I look back on a week, or more of entries, I can sometimes see a pattern of what God has been saying to me.  It may be through a Bible verse, and/or a friend’s observation, or someone’s writing on a blog, or in a book. Or a completely “random” event.

Learning to be open is a skill that can be acquired with practice and God’s grace. It is one that I have been cultivating the past several years, and I am learning to be more aware of His voice in the present moment. Not always. But more than before.

So I invite you to ask God to show you how to be more open to Him, and to His voice showing you where He is creating His life in your life.

What is one step you can take to be more open to God today?

Praying you experience His grace on your journey,

Dolly

 

Copyright Soul Stops 2011/Dolly Lee.  All Rights Reserved.

 

About Dolly:

God’s beloved child, wife, mom to sweet girl, writer. Lover of time alone with God, her family, and friends. Passionate about prayer, and making a difference – one small thing at a time. She blogs at http:soulstops.com, and she sometimes tweets @Soulstops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 comments

  1. Pingback: Soul Stops | on the unexpected gifts of abiding

  2. Pingback: Soul Stops | Are you open to life?

  3. Nikki @ Simplystriving - June 26, 2012 7:38 pm

    Beautiful post, Dolly. This is something I have been working on hard lately and still haven’t mastered. Being open. And not only open, but willing to what He has in mind for me.
    And can you believe lately, He’s been telling me I’ve been trying too hard? What grace He is showing me on new and unexpected levels.

    Thank you for sharing your heart today and encouraging me because of it!

    Reply
    • Dolly@Soulstops - June 27, 2012 9:30 am

      Yes, I can believe that He told you that because He has told me the same thing before…LOL…It is His grace, and it is a process learning to walk With Him…to match our step to His…yes, part of the being open, which I didn’t explicitly say, but which you said so well in your reply, is the “will” to be open to what He has in mind, especially if it is not what we would have chosen. Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart, Nikki 🙂

      Reply
  4. Jean Wise - June 27, 2012 5:02 am

    Words of wisdom here, Dolly. At my recent retreat, her first words to us were: Be open and willing. That became and still is my prayer. Being still helps me be open. Actually praying with open hands also helps me create that space to hear God.

    Reply
    • Dolly@Soulstops - June 27, 2012 1:51 pm

      oh, that is so good, Jean :”Be open and willing.” Yes, if we are open, but not willing, then we will close, just at the moment, we start to open…I will be pondering that today…Thanks, Jean, for sharing wisdom with us 🙂

      Reply
  5. Positively Alene - June 27, 2012 5:46 pm

    Absolutely so beautiful and true. In a world where it is so easy to put on a plastic mask and pretend, being open and vulnerable can sometimes be frightening! Thanks for this great reminder to be open and vulnerable before HIM!

    Reply
    • Dolly@Soulstops - June 27, 2012 9:58 pm

      You make a good point, Alene, it can be frightening at times, because sometimes, what God calls us to be open to may be a growth point, requiring us to stretch out of our comfort zones, or face into a difficult truth…but God loves us so we trust that He will treat us with gentleness, and not harshness…thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Reply

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