Imagine yourself standing in a large atrium in which there are many doors spaced along its walls and no other hallways in which to exit.
In my mind, my life is like that atrium. It’s filled with beautiful plants, some flowers, and beautiful daylight streaming down from the upper story windows.
For too long, invitations to exit into a new world have appeared on countless doors in the atrium. However, the doors are locked and access to the new world is prohibited through those doors.
Remember when you were in high school, standing in the hallway at your locker on the first day of school with a new combination lock in your hand…. fervently attempting to dial the correct numbers in the right sequence so that the lock would open and you could access your locker? Usually it was just a few tries and you got it right.
I’m not in high school any more, yet the doors to a new life all seem to be filled with combination locks. The difference… I don’t have the correct combination of numbers to release those locks. It’s frustrating.
I like to think I’m in control of my life. But, I’m not. And you aren’t either.
Today you may feel like you’re in control. Today you may be living a beautiful life beyond one of the doors that I’m trying to access. Yet, tomorrow, you may join me in the atrium, in a whole new reality, where you not only feel totally out of control but discover not much of anything is within your control. But, don’t despair!
I know that place! I’ve been living too long in the atrium. And as much as I’d like to get out… yesterday would not be soon enough… this is the place where growth happens. Even if you’re resistant.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good
of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
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My spirit has been hard and it’s been malleable. Regardless, God has been at work in me and around me. And he is and will be for you too.
Right now I am willing to do almost anything to get one of those doors to open. But, in my heart of hearts, I know that door will open at God’s leading and not by my continual spinning of the combination dial.
Remember Paul and Silas in prison? There they were behind bars and shackled with no possible way to get out. Did they try to stage a break out? No… they sang songs of worship instead.
I don’t know about you… but I think I need to spend more time in worship.
It seems to me that God expects us to do the things we can do while we live in our atrium. Both before and after our doing we need to do what Paul and Silas did. It’s in worship we will come to know God in all his glory and power. There our faith is renewed. There the chains fall off. There, we grasp our place and open our hearts to the ONE who opens the locked door.
Our exit might not be as spectacular as Paul and Silas. But I do know… it is God who will make the way… not us. I also know that in the meantime God is not wasting time. Some days, it feels like nothing is happening. Yet, scripture reminds us God is at work.
And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him
as we are changed into his glorious image.
In the midst of what appears to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day/month/year/decade, we need to remember God is very much at work… transforming us into his glorious image. And that out weighs all the difficulties.
Some of this is head knowledge… some of this is heart knowledge… but all of it is Truth.
Some days I don’t very much care that I’m being transformed into God’s image because my eye is on the short-term goal.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point… to seeing what is happening in my life and being grateful for the change.
Speaking of gratitude. I know today is only eleven days in to the New Year, but the evening gratitude journal keeping I talked about doing, I’m not only doing, but it’s something I look forward to at the end of the day. I enjoyed doing Ann Voskamp’s joy dares in the past… but this adaption is working for me in a fresh way. I write down ten things I’m grateful for every night and find many nights that I could keep going way past ten. No matter how icky the day… I’ve got plenty of good things to write down and rejoice in. And yes… it really does push the needle on my joy meter.
If you want more JOY, please join me in this weekly gratitude counting ‘seven’ — the good and the not-so-good and give thanks.
God, I’m grateful…
- on these very cold days for warm food and heat.
- for knowing that you have a plan for us, yet to be unfolded.
- for the beauty of the snow, even if I don’t like driving in it.
- for having a camera and being able to take photos of the exquisite and beautifully white blanketed world.
- for your constant unconditional love.
- for encouraging friends.
- for an external cooling fan for my laptop.
Okay… it’s YOUR turn!
Pop down to the Share Your Extraordinary Thoughts section below and tap in your ‘seven.’ I dare you!!
Thanks for stopping by today.
May your week overflow with God’s presence and joy!
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