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Got some stuff in your way?

There are just some days when I don't feel like I have it all together.  You know the kind of days I mean - when you hit the ground running and just check off as much as you can, but you know you didn't get it all done, nor did you perhaps do as thorough a job as you would under normal circumstances. We all live extremely busy lives, experiencing this kind of lack of "togetherness" in our days, but it is not to be the "norm" for us.  In fact, God wants us to learn to rely upon him bringing things "together" FOR us rather than us having to do all the work ourselves.  We "enter into" what God has for us - in turn, he enters into us and begins to set things in right order which are kind of helter-skelter within us.  In the end, he begins to effect changes to the things in our days we cannot handle apart from his grace and action helping us to "get through"!  

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!  (Romans 5:1-5 MSG)

We "enter" each day with an opportunity to "enter into" what God has prepared for us, or remaining "head-strong" by trying to just do it all ourselves. I know God didn't put me in my present position in nursing because he wanted to defeat me, so when tough days come my way, I have to look up, not inward.  I don't find the strength I need to work through the challenges I may be facing by "mustering" some kind of internal strength, but by "entering into" the peace, provision, and presence he provides.  Now, to do this, I have to first take this "overwhelming feeling of pressure" I may be under because of mounting deadlines, competing priorities, and demanding issues and place it squarely in his control.  Instead of entering into the challenges, I lay those challenges at his feet.  Remember over the past couple of days how I have been talking about allowing the altar to be the place where we are "altered"? It is kind of like that - I want the circumstances to be altered and the only way they will be is when I take them to the altar!  It is there he gives direction and brings peace.  It is there he transforms me from a mess of worrying human goop into a woman equipped with the wisdom to prioritize the demands, make the most of the opportunities, and quickly resolve the small stuff I should not be sweating in the first place!

When we "throw open OUR doors to God", we discover he has already opened his doors to us!  I have three bedrooms in my home, each with a door on them. I can have all three doors closed at one time.  The only thing connecting the three rooms at that moment is the hallway.  At first, the hallway seems quite confining - small, dark, and with walls quite close.  In that smallness of space, I can feel overwhelmed.  As soon as I begin to open the door to the first bedroom, the hallway takes on a different feel - new light is brought into the hallway, the walls don't seem so close, and I see the possibility of expanse before me.  The very action of opening the door presented more opportunities for me.  I am no longer bound by the limits of the hallway - but I needed the hallway to get to the open space of the bedroom!  Even the moments of "confining distress" are just transition points which require us to take some action - we have to allow them to act as the means by which we open the next door!  As we bring ourselves to the door, we have to take the handle - turn it - and then swing the door open.  It is like we take the confining mess of our day and then we determine to move it from our control to his!  We allow him to bring us through the transition of feeling confined into the openness and light of his presence.

Some of my deepest moments of growth are when I feel the most confined - because I have come to recognize them as transition points (hallways) in my life.  They aren't "crushing weights" when the right one is bearing the weight! As soon as I transition the weight from me to Jesus, the confining feelings of chaos and disorganized thought begin to lift!  I can see things better when I have made the transition of me having to control it all into the place of letting him bring me into the expanses of his provision.  Look at what our passage says comes next - when we open the door, clearly making the transition from feeling so confined by the pressures around us - we not only come into open spaces with God, but there is "even more to come"!  Now, why on earth would we want to remain in the hallway, all confined by the pressures we face, when we could come into his "even more"?  

The promise - we cannot round up enough containers to contain all God generously provides for us when we open the door to him!  Nothing compares to the generosity of God - nothing outshines his goodness toward those he loves!  I don't need to "own" it all - I just need to be available to do whatever he asks of me.  I don't need to be in "charge" of it all - I just need to be willing to take the next step when he requires it of me.  This is a challenge to actually live this way, but one thing is for sure - as soon as we learn to not settle for the "hallway experiences", we will be moving in the right direction. The hallway is not a confining space, but a transition point.  Let the pressures mount, the problems come as they may, and the competition for our priorities be ever in our way - it takes the hallway to get to the doorway!  At the doorway, we can transfer what is in our way!  Just sayin!

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