Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Spacious Place

My daughter and I play a lot of mind-stretchers. That's what I call these mental exercises that we do where I'll ask her questions like, what kind of a man she thinks she would want to marry someday, or where would she want to live if she could live anywhere- near the lake or ocean or in the mountains? I want her to consider and ponder the possibilities. I want her to be active in choosing good for her life. I want her mind to be open to where God might take her.

Open minds are good places for the thoughts and plans of God to take root and flourish. A closed mind is, instead, a dry wasteland, and nothing can grow there. And that's not a good place to be.

There is such a thing as the right place to be. Some would say, be careful when you talk about trying to get to the right place that you don't forget to be content where you are. While "godliness with contentment is great gain", there are those who major in that scripture only, camping in one place their whole life, quoting it while they encircle a mountain in confusion and lack of clarity concerning their destiny, their source of provision, their purpose.

Isn't that why the Israelites were admonished that they "had dwelt long enough at this mountain"? Isn't that why they were admonished to break camp and advance...finally? (Deut. 8:6,7)

Any place that is at odds with your destiny is no place to remain. It's one thing to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, it's another thing to decide you like it and want to stay there.

While I can not always exactly tell where I belong, I can discern where I don't. I may not know if I should live in a beautiful palace or a budget, pop-up tent, but I do know that I shouldn't live in a brothel. There's a lot more that we know that we should remind ourselves we know.

I know for sure that while I want to remain faithful and remain in a state of grace, I do not want to remain in the past. I don't want to envision where God is taking me- and then forget I have to let go of where I am.

Now I know I have had the glorious, nomadic advantage of having moved a lot in life- 2o times in 23 years of marriage. (Can you hear my gentle sarcasm?!) Most of these moves were required- due to housing constraints in seminary, going to little pastorates in New England, and then remodeling houses and selling them, necessarily making a living. (You really can't just live on love).

But I realize God has been putting me through the exercises of discernment of God's call, releasing of the past, taking hold of the future, and sometimes being like Abraham, going out "not knowing where he was going." This has built faith in me- faith for the journey, and an expectation that the journey is costly. It costs you a sense of security, stability, and status. Notice I said "a sense of". Because you DO have stability and security when God is moving you onward- you just may not feel it.

My son filled out a college application last week and had to write an essay. Of all the things he picks to write about, he wrote of the seven moves (of our 20) that he has participated in. He wrote proudly of this fact- and at first I wondered why. Then as I read, in his essay, of his plans for the future, his profession of his gifts and calling (to be involved in media communications and film making), I realized he was describing why he confidently felt he would make this journey-into his future.

He was confident that he knew how to move...onward. He could have been scarred by these moves, felt like he never had a home base long enough, or stayed long enough in one place to be with best friends all his life.

But instead my son felt advantaged and blessed to be someone who knows, already, that life is a journey. He knows we may go through fire and flood (Psalm 66), but that your future is always one where you have to go forward, and onward, to be in that spacious place God has called us all to.


Jennifer said...

how perfect... the message was as though it was written just for me. I'll fill you in on the details in an email! : ) XOXO

Angie said...

You don't know how I needed to hear this. Thank you!

Liara Covert said...

Promoting open-mindedness is a very positive thing. People often underestimate the power of positive thinking. We are all susceptible to outside influences that seek to teach us to stop listening to our inner voices. To consciously connect with a higher power allows us to imagine and lvie our own miracles.