A couple of weeks ago I shared how, after a difficult season of living with daily emotional stress and anxiety related to the neighbors below us, we moved. And on that first day in our new home, as I stood on our deck, looking out on our new backyard a beautifully clear afternoon, the first words that came to my mind were from the Psalms: “He brought me out into a spacious place.”
One month in, as I walk and live in this home, I keep hearing those words. We are still settling ourselves here. Paintings are being hung and cardboard cleared out. And God is saying, Here is space, my dear. I have brought you into a spacious place.
Physical space, of course. But also emotional space, space to calm the tightly wound panic in me. I am still unlearning the dread that settled inside me last year. The boys run from one room to another and my heart still speeds. There is no one here to yell at me, I whisper to my thumping chest. The doorbell is the delivery man, not a hostile person. The bang downstairs is my husband dropping a book, not a neighbor pounding a broom into the ceiling.
Space. And, now, one month in, I’m feeling my fear slowly seep away. I’m still aware of the noise my children make, but that awareness—that tightening of my chest—is slowly leading me to sigh. To pray a breath of gratitude.
We live in a culture of filled up calendars and exhausted task-checking. We are People Who Accomplish Things. And we train our children to be People Who Accomplish Things.
Inside space, there is nothing to accomplish. There is no task to check. There is only room. Space is a quieting, an emptying. And space doesn’t just occur in this fast-paced, task-oriented world we live in. Space must be chosen, set apart, made.
I’m learning to see the Holy Spirit as a space-maker. As I’ve begun to recognize the Spirit’s invitation in every part of my life, I see my tightly wound living for what it often is: clutter, relational brokenness, endless striving.
If God is the one who brings us into a spacious place, how can we respond? How can we begin to become people who make space for others, for God, for ourselves?
These are the questions I’m asking:
Am I making space for God’s voice in the noise and clutter of my daily routine?
Am I making space for rest and renewal in my own calendar?
Am I making space for other people to share their stories, to be welcomed and received, to find the peace of God in my presence?
Am I offering room in my conversations to actually hear the needs of the person in front of me?
Am I giving my child room to play?
Am I pausing my life to be still or am I filling my quiet moments with my phone or social media?
Am I noticing the goodness in front of me?
The Holy Spirit always brings invitation: Will you rest in this space? Will you live with gratitude?
I have brought you out into a spacious place, God says. And what will I do with that space? Will I listen to the invitation and make more room?
Photo credit: The Wandering Angel on Flickr