Last time I started to tell you about my five resolutions for saner living. No one who does not possess a photographic memory is likely to remember what they were, so here’s a quick refresher:
1. OPEN UP
2. QUIET DOWN
Today, I’m going to continue with a break down of the first point, opening up.
This is a tough challenge for me, personally. Anyone who knows me in real life will not be surprised. For those who do not, let me just stress that I am an uncommonly quiet and introverted person. Being open with others (and sometimes even myself) is not something that comes naturally to me.
Here’s something I’ve learned, though.
If something is really difficult for us, it is often an indication that we really, really need to do that thing. As a writer, I know the importance of giving the characters in my stories challenges to overcome. The way they face the adversities I throw at them is what makes the story. It is what gives the story meaning.
God is the master story-teller. What I do in my writing is just a shadow of what he does with me, his creation, in real life. As our creator, he is kind enough to give us difficulties and shortcomings, without which we would never be able to grow as characters.
So, if you and I have anything in common, the very un-naturalness of this resolution serves as a sure sign of its importance in our lives. It’s something we have to focus, something we have to do with intention. It will probably never be easy, and there’s a decent chance we’ll have to keep working on it for the rest of our lives. But I stress: the harder it is, the more obvious our (my) need of it.
Let’s take another peek at the verse that inspired this resolution:
“Open up before God, keep nothing back; He’ll do whatever needs to be done; He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.” -Ps. 37v5-6
Let it sink in a minute, then we can start to try and work out what it means.
My interpretation is that we are meant to give of ourselves. I was not put here for me, but for my Creator, and for my neighbor. Opening up means making a conscious offering of our deepest self. Bare it all before Him (it’s not like He doesn’t know what’s there, anyway) and give it all up. I mean every last bit… the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Says my friend C.S. Lewis in his classic, Mere Christianity:
“Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.”
Your life is a gift God has given you. Open it up, and give it right back. Reject that futile tendency to keep it all to yourself. Reject internal hoarding. Reject a small, miserly life and let God go to work in you. Be honest with Him, and with others, and with yourself. Embrace the life He calls you to.
“The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” -2 Cor. 6v12-13 (MSG)
In retrospect, I realize how appropriate the order of these resolutions is. When I first wrote them down, I had no idea. But none of the others are going to work out if we don’t start learning to be open, honest, and free first.
Stay tuned. Next time I’ll move on to #2, quieting down, a principle someone like me should probably know all about (spoiler alert, though: I don’t).