An Invitation to Make Space

 

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.

God brings space, I’m learning. And God’s followers are invited to carry space with us wherever we go. We are invited to be Spacious People.

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

  • LindsaySterchi

    Thank you so much for this. I love how you expand the idea of space to mean not only creating stillness in our lives, but also creating space for others. In the midst of a hectic season, I have been craving space and stillness. Your list of questions was very helpful as I reflect on this.

    • michaboyett

      Thanks Lindsay. Yes, the making space for others stuff is something new I’m considering as well. When people let you into their own stories, they are allowing you into a holy place. And, in order for a person to let you in, you have to somehow offer them this invisible permission, right? How do you go about offering that sort of openness, living in a way where people recognize that, under the words, they are invited to be vulnerable? I’d love your thoughts because I’m just working through what that looks like…

      • http://lindsaysterchi.wordpress.com/ Lindsay Sterchi

        Great questions. I think there is a lot of overlap in the way we create space for ourselves and in creating space for others. Because if our schedule is overcrowded and we’re constantly rushing, we don’t have time or space to sit and listen and simply BE with people. And they can sense that. I think the way we invite people to be vulnerable is to share our own story with them, to be open and honest. I think this gives them permission to do the same, and in doing so, we create a safe space where there is enough room for all of us, with all our beauty and mess. Just my initial thoughts, and excited to hear more as you continue to work through that concept!

  • pastordt

    Questions we all need to ask – and seldom do. Thanks for leading the way, Micha.

    • michaboyett

      Thank you, friend. I’d love to hear how you do it. I have a feeling you’ve got some wisdom about this in that head of yours. :)

  • http://www.coffeestainedclarity.com/ Bethany Bassett

    This is such a hard one for me, the invitation to make and accept space. I am very much one of those People Who Accomplish Things. Productivity is wound throughout my personal values so tightly that it’s hard to see goodness apart from it sometimes. I recognize that it’s a constrictive way to live though and that “redeeming the time because the days are evil” might NOT be the urgent call to busyness that I grew up believing. Thanks for this post. I’m going to be mulling over your questions today.

    • michaboyett

      Thanks Bethany. I hear you. I grew up in a family of hard workers, a value I’m so grateful was installed in me. But I sense more and more that sometimes I mistake what I should be working hard at. You know? I’m going to write more about this, but I’ve especially been seeing so much change in my son as I’ve set aside a specific time to play with him each day. There’s something to that down time for both of us that IS hard work, even though I was letting the pressing “to-dos” take precedent over that intentional time before. So glad to hear from you…


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