|Big Eds in Old City Market-Raleigh NC|
Invitations come from relationships. Some come from passing relationships, striking up a conversation with a stranger or new quaintance. Others from deep friendships. All lead somewhere of value to the one who made the offering, the invitation.
Invitations are how I have found many of the churches and ministries on my Study-Renewal Leave journey. Friends like Alan Rice or Bishop John Schol or Vance Ross have taken time to reflect and share. Invitations are how I find my way deeper into God's presence. Just today, as I began exploring the streets of Richmond, I felt a holy nudge, an inner sense, God's Spirit invite me to allow the day to be restful, walking and praying; to take time to be present to whatever came my way and breath. That prompt was freeing for me. It opened the door to 8 miles of walking, and much journaling. All this comes from invitations.
Now, surprises are things out of my control. They are not all evaluated as good when they come my way, but many of the great experiences I have begin as surprises. For instance, the recommendation to eat at "Big Eds" in Raleigh, was shared with me this week by a college. Not only was the food and service great, but I stumbled upon a motorcycle show in the midst of the quaint shops on a historic Old City Market.
As I scanned the street from my table by the window; eating my burger and engaging surroundings lifted my spirits. This surprise guided my feet for an hour or so and put a gift in the day, when I was missing family.
God works with invitations and surprises. I'm not the only one. It simply takes being open to the possibilities, saying yes and seeing where they lead. No matter where they go, there is a gift to be found. Often there are experiences that mark a trip, a friendship, a life... when we are open. On pastor I met in my travels said, "If I can't tell you a new story of what God is doing in my life, from the last few days, then I'm not paying attention."
What invitations and surprises have you noticed recently?