Wisdom, Healing and Openness

Open to Growth by Carly Swenson

Proverbs 22:17-19 NRSV
The words of the wise: Incline your ear and hear my words, and apply your mind to my teaching; for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today— yes, to you.

In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.
- Phil Collins

Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service. If we do not use the mind that God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality and cut ourselves off from many of the riches of God’s grace. -John Stott

Maybe wisdom is not having it all figured out, but being open to God. In wisdom we never finish paying attention, never close our minds. We continually become more open to new awareness and perspectives, by what Paul calls “the transformation of our minds.” In wisdom we become more open to wonder, attentive to the Spirit, and receptive to God. We become more sensitive, enlarging the territory of our care, and welcoming others into our compassion with open arms. We become more transparent to God’s grace. Wisdom is allowing ourselves to be changed.
- Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Open Me

Conversion is going on all the time within us and within the world. … While the change of turning toward God may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it is in reality a continual process. We may think that we have turned fully toward God; then we discover another dimension of God, and we know immediately that more conversion is possible and necessary if we are to move Godward in all of life.
- Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

Being guided by God does not guarantee we will have perfect families, perfect jobs, perfect health, with no problems or challenges. But genuine guidance does mean we will experience basic fulfillment and renewal. It means we will feel vitally alive in our giving and receiving. It means that our lives will not be barren but fruitful. We will not be left empty, desolate, depleted. Abundance will be present at our center. The word abundance means an overflowing fullness. The root of the word is associated with undulation, a rhythmic, wavelike motion, like the flow of tides in an ocean. When we walk in God’s guidance, a full, rhythmic flow of life pulses within us.
- Flora Slosson Wuellner, Enter by the Gate

Genuine spiritual formation, being conformed [to the image of Christ], is the great reversal of the negative spiritual formation of our culture. It reverses our role from being the subject who controls the objects of the world, to being the object of the loving purposes of God who seeks to “control” us for our perfect wholeness. Genuine spiritual formation reverses our role as the controllers (who act to bring about the desired results in our lives) to beings who allow the spirit of God to act in our lives to bring about God’s purposes. Genuine spiritual formation reverses our habitual expectations for gratification to a poster of patient, open-ended yieldedness. Genuine spiritual formation brings about a fundamental shift from being your own production to being God’s creation. – M. Robert Mulholland Jr., Shaped by the Word

Extended quote by Nadia Bolz Weber
from Sometimes It Hurts: a Sermon on Healing
based on Mark 7:31-37
It’s painful to be open.  There’s no control in it. No self-determination.  But Jesus is like that, taking us away from whatever the THEY thinks about us, getting all up in our business and insisting on our wholeness.

Be opened he says.

  • Be opened to a life where you aren’t the broken one anymore.
  • Be opened to the possibility that there is healing in the world and it might not look like you think it should.
  • Be opened to knowing that your own brokenness doesn’t need to be hidden behind someone else’s brokenness.
  • Be opened to the idea that you are stronger than you think.
  • Be opened to the idea that you aren’t as strong as you think.
  • Be opened to the fact that you may not ever get what you want and that you will actually be ok anyway.
  • Be opened to finally being happy.
  • Be opened to your own need for healing especially if you yourself are a healer.
  • Be opened to life and life abundant.

Maybe that’s what healing really is. We think it’s about identifying what’s wrong with someone else or with ourselves and then having that thing cured, but I wonder if spiritual healing has more to do with being opened than being cured.

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