I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about our human inclination to gradually narrow ourselves as we grow older. We tend to close ourselves off to things that through time, trial, and error, we've decided we don't like.
Think of your own preferences for music, film, TV, and food. Typically, by the time you're an adult, you've determined which kinds of movies, foods, and music you like. Your taste is set and your decision-making is rooted therein.
That rootedness can extend also to our goals and ambitions. We can have the perspective that we know what we're good at, what we want to do with our skills and abilities, and we doggedly pursue with single-focus the track we set ourselves on. That's called determination. And that's a good thing. Right? I think it is, mostly; but it's important to leave room for God's influence! He may have a "bend in the road" that you don't see coming. He may have a plan you can't yet conceive. He may have a surprising twist in your story that makes his influence obvious. And I don't think you want to miss it because you're so invested in what you think you know.
Not that everyone's a bible reader, but I have a biblical example that makes my point. Paul the Apostle was on a completely different track in life than what God had planned for him (Galatians 1:15-16); and it wasn't until after he was widely known to oppose Christianity that he was spiritualy redirected (Galatians 1:11-12). It makes me think of how things are revealed to us....little by little sometimes. Other times, it's all at once, but you can't control how or when an revelation comes to you. That's God stuff! All we can do is boldly go in the direction of our inclination, operating at the height of our ability until something different uncovers itself.
I find this idea especially timely because of the many polarizing things depicted in the news these days, bringing out a tendency for people to dig deeper into their point of view and be completely closed to other ways of seeing an issue. We focus more on defending our position, than seeking true betterment for everyone. Knowing God wants us to add goodness, knowledge, self-control and perseverance to faith to avoid being ineffective in our spiritual practice, I want to be careful not to let the rancor that politics can promote rub off on me. Yes, I have my point of view, but I try to stay open to what unexpected things God may want me to see and accept.
How do you protect yourself from closing off to the world (especially when it's hostile)?