A basic disposition of life is whether we are open or closed off. When we are closed off, we fight for everything we can get. Subtle fear grips us because life might not happen the way we want. Stress surrounds us because we feel like we have to “make it happen.”
Those who are able to live with an open disposition take what comes. They know that life is messy and that God not only speaks through the mess, but uses the mess for his honor and purposes. They can move forward in life unafraid and confident that they can make it because God is with them.
Cultivating an open disposition takes time, reflection, and trust. Moving from being closed to open does not happen overnight. Transition takes time because we tend to gravitate toward what we know. The ability to reflect on our lives, daily events, and our response to those events helps us become more open.
God allows the events in our lives, even painful ones. This “allowance” does not mean God “causes” these painful events. Ultimately sin is what brings pain and death. However, God uses all our events to help us find consonance (harmony, alignment, etc.) with him.
Jesus says in John 15 that he is the vine and we are the branches. In other words, Jesus is to be the source of our lives. If you look closely at that passage you discover that when we are not apart of the vine (him) we can do nothing. If his will and way are not flowing through our lives, we are not “part” of him. Openness to him through life events creates an atmosphere where God can draw us closer to him.
When we are closed off, we resist those events that are not what want or desire. This is especially true if we see the events as negative. Yet, God can and does work through negative events. Sometimes these events are instruments to draw us into him.
How can we cultivate an openness? 1) Recognize resistance to events (especially negative ones). 2) Spend time getting to know God through prayer and Scripture. 3) Determine to trust God even in negative events. 4) Don’t try to figure out why things happen! Simply place them in the hands of God. 5) Ask God to guide you as life unfolds. These are a few ways that may help cultivate an openness in our lives.
I am a pilgrim trying to find my way not an expert in openness. However, when cultivate an openness to the events in our lives, we discover God using them to form us in his will and way.