Straight from an Open Heart
By Lisa Elliott
Restrictions; It’s a word we’ve all become far too acquainted with over the past year. I don’t know about you, but after almost a year of literally zooming in on everything we can’t do and everyone we can’t see and everywhere we can’t go, I’m ready for a new focus. How about you?
Maybe it’s time to set our sights on things we can do, people we can see, and places we can go. Opening our hearts, eyes, mind, and life up to the freedom we can find within the restrictions. And just maybe we’ll find a whole new perspective in this new normal.
Here’s how we can be open and find freedom within restriction:
- Opening our eyes to explore our options. Possibly opening our eyes to things we haven’t seen before, simply because we haven’t taken the time to notice them. Opportunities we may not have been aware of. Scoping our sphere of influence including people, tasks, jobs, or activities where God might be inviting us into. Then prayerfully considering how we can be a part of all He’s up to and ways we can be used of Him to be a light in the darkness. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
- Opening our minds to God’s truth. A lot of the battles we fight take place right on the turf between our own two ears. Mental health is a real issue in these days of restriction. Therefore, we must care for our minds and fuel them with healthy, positive, and godly thoughts. Paul’s words to the Philippians are as profound today as they were when he wrote them, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:6-9).
- Opening our hearts to be all God created us to be. Opening our hearts to discover, or perhaps rediscover our gifts, talents, abilities, resources, and all the things that make us uniquely unique. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14a).
- Opening our lives up to the One who opens new doors of opportunities before us. By that, I mean, acknowledging parts of our lives that may have been subtly crowded out by life as we knew it. Reminding ourselves of experiences in our past with gratefulness, while forging ahead with hopefulness into new experiences He may have waiting for us. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
God is offering us a restart, a renewed perspective, a new way of doing life. We’ve never been this way before. Therefore, all the more reason to trust in the One who goes before us to open the doors He has awaiting—right within our own four walls. “…making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16).
What are some of the open doors of opportunity God is encouraging you to explore?
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org