This past Sunday we continued our exploration of the integrated life. During the month of May we're looking at how openness and receptivity are crucial to developing an integrated life. This week Babs described how trust is critical for openness and gave some practices that encourage openness and trust to grow.
There's a direct correlation between trust and openness. The more we trust ourselves, God, or others the more open we are. The less we trust, the less open we are. Trust in God, unlike what we’ve often been taught in church, is dynamic. It can grow (or diminish) daily. It isn’t all or nothing. The more we open our heart space to God, the more we experience that God is trustworthy. And the more we experience God’s trustworthiness, the more we can open up to God, ourselves and others. Therefore, any small step in openness and/or trust practiced regularly can yield incredible fruit. If we want to live an integrated life, no matter how much we currently trust or how open we are, the important thing is (with God’s help) to be intentional in practicing openness.
Below are a few suggestions/practices that can help us along in the journey towards openness and trust.
1. Reframe your picture of God. We can only be open or truly trust someone we believe has our best interest in mind. So if your view of God is that He is any anything less than loving, compassionate, merciful, faithful, loving and good,
read and re-read Psalm 103 or other passages that focus on God's loving nature.
2. Place your problems in God’s loving hands. Practice trusting infinite God instead of your finite self or others. When confronted with situations that are beyond your control, or past hurts that haunt you, practice turning that situation, condition, or person over to the care of God.
3. Gain perspective (humility). Practice being "right sized." Remind yourself that you are not God, nor in control of the universe or others. Practice being "right sized." Get out in the grandeur of nature and just be still. Still your mind, ears, and mouth. Try not to analyze or judge, just observe. Just be small, one small speck in the wondrous, expansive cosmos. Insignificant and yet deeply significant.
4. Experiment with hands-on practices. Make a Gratitude Journal, use a "God Box" regularly, commit to centering prayer, walking meditation, or prayer using art.
Consider this week:
"How can I practice openness or trust?"