In the Spacious Place

After the decadence of December, I like the simpleness of January and February. The white snow, and blank calendar spaces soothe my soul because those blank spaces signal the arrival of Hope. Hope you’ll change. Hope circumstances will change. Hope that the coming year will be different. The new year is still bright and shiny.

Wide open spaces provide room to move, think and breathe deeply. Busy schedules, phone calls, texts, appointments, to-do lists eventually crowd us, we lose focus. We run like hamsters on a wheel, getting nowhere. There’s no space in our heads, hearts or days to think, reflect or pray. When we don’t make room for those things, it becomes challenging to implement change, and to grow. Hope shrinks.

But in these early days of the new year, hope abounds. Our calendars, our ability to say no, are still in our grasp. Change can happen, right? It’s not too late. 

David writes about wide open spaces in Psalm 18, after God delivered him from the hands King Saul, whom David had served faithfully. I can only imagine the sting of that betrayal. David pens these words:

He brought me out to a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19 CSB

In the New Living Translation (NLT), it reads: He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.

God delivers David to a spacious place or safe place. I don’t know about you but I loathe crowds. Open spaces equal safety. Sometimes God does deliver us to a spacious place. He removes the obstacle, the relationship or sickness. 

Sometimes he does not. That’s when we feel like the world is closing in, don’t we? Breathing becomes hard. But God did not abandon David to his trials. His presence filled those caves David hid in. He ran beside David as he fled Saul’s insanity and wrath.

God doesn’t always remove the circumstances or the people, but God still delivers us. It doesn’t always show up in the form of physical change but rather in a shift in our minds and hearts when we make room for God to live there. 

He rescued David because he delighted in him. He feels the same about you and me. His love for us came in the form of his one and only Son, he’s our proof of how God feels about us. He rescued us for all eternity but he’s still in the business of delivering us to a spacious, safe place, today. Right now. Even if our blank spaces and hope seemed to have fizzled already, he’s still there, in caves, the hospitals, the boardrooms and living rooms, waiting to rescue us. Will we make room for him to deliver us to a spacious place? 

The Power of I CAN

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13 NLT

 I have allowed myself to be defined by a failure twenty-four years ago.  I’m no longer willing to be defined that way.  Maybe I’m growing up.  A few years ago, I was speaking to a friend about it.  I think I termed it a mistake.  “Going off to Carleton for journalism was such a big mistake.” I said.

“Really?  You think it was a mistake?  I don’t see it as a mistake.  You took a risk.”  That was the gist of what she said to me.  I think I was speechless.  I NEVER saw going off to Ottawa to study journalism as a risk.  Because I am not a risk-taker.  At least I’ve never considered myself one.  Her words have stuck with me over the years and lately I’ve started to re-examine some things.  I’m starting to overcome the anxiety and fear that have been my companions for much of my life.  It’s amazing how other things come into focus once those two frauds exit your life.  So as 2014 approached and people talked about resolutions, I started to take stock.  

I didn’t want to make a resolution.  I have decided to set goals.  A goal is “the aim or object towards which an endeavour is directed.”  This year I am endeavoring to say “I can” rather than “I can’t”.  The word can’t has been too much a part of my life thus far.  I am aiming to be a can do person and teach my children that as well.  Can’t is becoming too much of a way of thinking for my youngest child.  It must be stopped.

“For I CAN do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  (emphasis mine).  My mother has always given me this verse.  This year, I am going to endeavour to live it.  There’s some exciting things starting to take shape in my life and I don’t want to miss out because I think I can’t do it.   “Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique experience, but there’s a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.” ― Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  

It’s time to move onto the dance floor.  I’m tired of viewing life from the sidelines more often than not in recent years.  I want to be the person Christ created me to be.  Saying I can and then trusting in his strength to help me is the first step to being that person.  She has shown up occasionally but not nearly enough.  But the moments of illumination of her existence gives me hope.  When I went off to journalism school, I was looking for adventure.  I wasn’t looking for safety.  I wanted the thrill of a workday that was never the same.  I wanted to be out in the world.  To see the world.  I left my home to go to Ottawa which was a seven hour drive from Innerkip.  No one in my family had done that.  

I’d also forgotten that marrying a guy who wants to be a pastor is a bit of risk.  Ministry is full of risks as is any leadership position.  We moved around the country.  I’ve lived in six cities and two provinces since we got married almost twenty years ago.  I’ve had to make friends and then make more new friends over six times.  It’s a risk to let yourself be known by others.  So my friend from a few years ago wasn’t as far off as I first thought.  There is a risk-taker buried deep down.  Hopefully 2014 will see her emerge as the words I CAN take root and I rely on a strength not my own.