Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What does it mean to be "Open"

My dad has a standard phrase whenever someone asks him if he is looking for a call.  He will say, "I am always open to considering a call."

He says this even if he is not seeking one.  He says this if asked, even if he doesn't want one and is telling folks not to circulate his name.  Why?  Because the call is divine - it must always be considered when given. 

I have been told that if a person uses contraception, by definition that they are "not open" to having children -- and that has never rung true to me.  And I think in many ways it comes out of my dad's way of speaking.

Openness has nothing to do with your plans.  It has nothing to do with what you are seeking, whether or want something or don't want something.  Openness has to do with reacting when something happens, regardless of your plans or your influence.

And I think this applies to all sorts of things.  Calls, children - opportunities.  Whatever.  In our lives we don't put the thrust and importance on our plans -- as though everything hinges on what we want or don't want.  Consider James 4:13-15: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—  yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

The fact is, we don't know what tomorrow brings.  We make our plans, we strive after the shape and flavor of blessings that we think we would like... but then we receive what the Lord gives, we consider the things He sets before us. 

Because what defines reality isn't my desire -- it is what God gives.  And God often gives things that we do not plan, want, or desire -- and that is fine.  Our lives, our own senses of righteousness are not defined by somehow divining what blessings God is going to send us and wanting those and only those ahead of time.  Wherever we live, we live where the Lord wills.

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