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"Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.

Mark 2:22

Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, the new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."

I am struck by this invitation from Jesus to set aside our brittle, old wineskins, our old ways of thinking, doing, and loving, and instead put on new wineskins that are more pliable – to let go of the brittleness of our ways that cannot withstand the pressure of new ideas.  That is not an easy task.

It is easier not to change, to stay set in our comfortable ways.  Perhaps we try to patch the old wineskins, changing a few small things here and there.  But the bigger call is to actually get rid of everything that no longer fits us or serves us well – clutter in our basement, closed mindsets, lives ruled by fear and anxiety, need for control, old grudges, etc.   To examine our whole life and upend it, changing it to encompass however God wants us to be at this time – new ideas, new experiences, new routines, new openness, new patience, new acceptance, new compassion, new mercy.  Not clinging to what we know, and are, right now, but venturing into who God is calling us to be, is the invitation.  Change is difficult.  But change brings newness, excitement, and unknown blessings because God is always at work in it, and on us. 

You might be thinking, “That’s all well and good, but how do I know what God is calling me to change?”  That answer comes from more openness – openness to finding quiet time to listen to God, commitment to regular prayer, taking time out to just be, reflect, and listen.  Without that, the only voices we hear are those of society around us and our own voice, that is so firmly entrenched in us and so often calls us to stay exactly as we are. 

The journey to openness begins with detachment – letting go of the need to be right, recognized, or in control, sometimes simply letting things unfold.  When we accept that we are not God, so we do not have to do everything perfectly and have all the answers, a new freedom and openness can emerge.  Slowly from this detachment comes openness and from the openness comes change. 

And from that change comes something new – a new way of being, doing, or thinking. While there might be uncertainty and unpredictability in newness, and maybe even some discomfort, there is also a lightness and excitement in embracing something different, opening us to be surprised by joy.

What joy might God have for you that you have not been open to, because you haven't taken the time to listen or because you were too afraid to change?  

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