Tag Archives: listening

Opening

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Like a tight bud, inside a green sheath
Like a tap firmly twisted shut
Like a door, locked and bolted
Like the hard packed soil after winter
My heart and spirit can be closed
Guarded, protected, safe
Layers of resistance
Wanting everything planned, controlled, tied up
Hiding in the comfort of the known
Fighting the call to growth and change
in my desire for security
Stuck in fixed expectations
Clinging to what I believe is unchangeable
Not wanting the status quo disrupted
Suspicious of others motives
Defensive, holding myself back
Easily offended, disgruntled, anxious
Critical and finding fault
Feeling angry, prevailed upon, misunderstood
Afraid of being hurt
Afraid of what people may think
Afraid of getting it wrong
Seeing the worst not the best
Noticing the mud not the gold
Like hard packed soil
So hard that the life giving rains can’t soak in

Like a blossoming flower, opening to the warm sunlight
Like a tap turned on, water free flowing
Like a door flung wide, to welcome in
Like soil, ploughed and turned over, ready for watering and planting
My heart and spirit can be open
Open to awe, to wonder, to surprise
Eyes to recognise God in my everyday
Receptive to love
Ready for change and growth
Eager for transformation
Open to my own emotions of tears or joy
Believing I can change and rise above my past
Seeing potential in others for growth and healing
Seeing situations with eyes of hope, things as they can be
Quick to praise and affirm
Deep security that’s unshakable
Welcoming the new, the different
Willing to step into the unknown and seemingly insecure for a season
Releasing my preconceptions
Letting go of my own agendas
Listening, expectant
Constantly amazed by the beauty in life
Seeing joy beyond the challenges
Heart open to a touch of God in places I didn’t expect to find him
Unthreatened by questions that seem to have no answer
Choosing to trust
Like soil, ploughed and turned over
Open to be watered by the surprising grace of God

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If you are in the mood for reflection read on…

In your life
Where have you been closed?
Where have you been open?
What has the fruit of that been?

Where do you see signs of growth, hope and change in you life?

Are there areas where you are resisting growth, change or something new?

Do you want to be more open in any of those areas?

How can you be more open in different situations and relationships in your life?

This coming week, maybe we all can practice having eyes to see joy, surprise, hope and beauty in the everyday.

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These are my thoughts after reading the ‘Watered Gardens’ chapter in a wonderful book of reflections by Joyce Rupp (which I highly recommend) called ‘May I have this dance’.

 

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013
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Cooking up something good

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“Life-changing doesn’t always mean we’re given a step by step, detailed plan. Sometimes it’s the flash of an insight, a heart pounding idea, a sense of what’s to come.” – Leigh Kramer

Photo by Idelette

Our hands after a henna session in Burundi. Photo by Idelette

I want to share with you below a blog post written by a friend I met at Amahoro Africa in Uganda. I flew home from my trip to Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi on Thursday and my mind is still buzzing with the colours, the people, the conversations. I really resonate with a lot of what she’s saying. I’m also finding it hard to articulate stories of my time away, especially when you can tell that some people who ask ‘how was your trip?’ really only want a nugget and then to move on in conversation. And yet there are precious friends who listen for the longer stories, ask the deeper questions and in reward get the deeper answers, and in those conversations I feel heard and loved and I myself make realisations about what it all meant and what I have learnt and what I still need to process.

Like my friend Leigh, I also knew really strongly I needed to go on this trip and that it would be significant and yet even now I’m not fully sure how it will be significant. She describes a time on the trip when a few ladies sat together and described how they were feeling in a word and explained it. We did it often, almost every day and it really helped me to articulate and even realise for myself how I was feeling. Towards the end my word was ‘intrigued’. I’m really intrigued to see what God does with these connections. I’m intrigued to see what will come out of this trip. When I described it to my mother she said it’s like walking into a room and smelling delicious food cooking. I know God is cooking up something good for me, I can sense it, I can smell it. I don’t know exactly what’s going to be on the table yet but I know it’s going to be good.

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You can read my friend Leigh’s post here

Fishing in the right spot (Fruitful Insights #2)

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www_flickr1-500x201 fish

I’ve written a post about fruitfulness and productivity which is a kind of introduction to these posts. This is the second post about specific insights about fruitfulness. The first is here.

Recently, since coming back to South Africa this year, I feel God’s been sharing insights with me on a similar theme through incidents in the gospels.

When Peter was called to be a follower of Jesus, he’d spent all night working hard fishing with nothing to show for it. Striving to be productive.

Then Jesus audaciously tells him to throw his nets out on the other side of the boat. Peter must have been ready to explode: sleep deprived after a long and frustrating night, this could have been the last straw. Why would the other side make any difference? It’s the very same water he’s been fishing all night entirely unsuccessfully. Any fisherman with any sense at all would know you fish at night, not during the day. It doesn’t make any sense. But amazingly he did what the stranger said. He didn’t know much of Jesus but he knew enough to know it was worth listening to him.

And his obedience was fruitful, mind-blowingly, abundantly fruitful. In just one drop of his nets he caught more fish than he could pull in and had to ask for help, both boats were bursting with jumping fish! So much so that they started to sink under the weight of fruitfulness. In the midst of the chaos of bringing in the miraculous catch Peter must have been utterly baffled and shocked, who on earth is this man?! He is left in no doubt and is so convinced that he leaves everything to follow him. Jesus promises him that the sign of fruitfulness in fish will be replicated in fruitfulness in people’s lives.

That story really spoke to me about how often we slog away, working long and hard on what we think will be productive, even what we think will be fruitful. But if we listen to what God’s trying to tell us, and go where he’s prompting us and opening doors, even if it doesn’t seem sensible, then it can be hugely abundantly fruitful, often with less effort exerted. It’s not lazy, just efficient! Maybe it doesn’t always require the long hard slog we think it should in our work=value ethic. If we focus on the places/ relationships/activities that we believe God’s guiding us to, then the fruit can be disproportionate to our effort. He likes it that way because then we know it’s from him not us.

I’ve experienced that recently, the less I try to force and orchestrate stuff to happen that I think will be productive, and the more I try to listen to God and be flexible to go with the flow of where I believe he’s guiding me, the more I get into unexpected and hugely fruitful conversations, opportunities and encounters that would never have happened if I’d been fixing it all up. I’m definitely still learning but I’m feeling so excited and grateful for this insight and how I see it working out in my life.

Photo credit: Flickr ezioman