My friends know my propensity to move on to the next thing. My mother claims I entered the world with a been-there-done-that attitude. It's not something I'm particularly proud of, but I have come to acknowledge it is part of who I am.
But, I'm growing. I am learning to stay put, even when the impulse to move begins bubbling up inside me. I'm embracing the tension that sometimes I need to remain and stop looking around and other times, my gifts are best expressed in brief interactions that require no long-term involvement.
Which made a recent open door quite a conundrum. I was sitting at home, minding my own business when, out of nowhere, a door opened up. As I peered through the open door I found nothing of interest so I simply closed the door. But the door did not want to stay closed. I would be busy attending to daily tasks, only to look up and find the door mysteriously ajar.
I began to converse with God about this.
"Is this a door you want me to walk through?"
"What do you want to do?" came the reply.
"I want to do what you want me to do." I said truthfully.
"You know yourself. Stay where you are or walk through the door, but choose what is most true to who you are. What will give you life?"
As I sat with that question over the course of a couple of weeks, the decision became clear. The existence of an open door did not necessitate me walking through it. The available option did not constitute life for me and I definitively slammed the door shut. Immediately, I sensed space opening up inside me. Space for beauty and creativity and new life.
And yet, that stupid door would not stay shut. I began to reconsider. It was quite lovely on the other side of the door. There was new adventure. New people. Perhaps more opportunity, attention, respect...But what to do with the clear affirmation of the decision to stay? On the other hand, how can we really be sure we've heard from God anyway? Couldn't I just as easily say that God wanted me to walk through the door because he kept opening it? I could feel myself spiritualizing a poor decision, but I was beginning to get quite agitated by the open door.
And then my Lent devotion this morning from Philippians 2:4-8.
Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interest of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death--even death on a cross.
Then I knew the answer to the open door. The door led me to the place of taking care of my own interests. My own ego. My own security. My devotional encouraged me to walk like Jesus this Holy Week--emptying myself from the need to control and my anxious passion for security. I certainly had been experiencing anxiety and I had been ready to step through the door in hopes that action, any action, would serve to dissipate the discomfort. But Easter freedom is not found in serving my own interests, but in humbly following where Jesus is leading me, listening attentively and choosing the path of self-emptying love.
What I find fascinating about this journey is its uniqueness for each of us. I think I may get to sit in my room and watch someone else walk through the open door--and it will be exactly the door God has for him or her. And, if I'm really growing, I'll be able to smile and encourage as someone walks past me on the way to a new adventure.
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
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