Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! ~ 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (The Message Version).
For the last three years, I’ve been grappling with the same few Bible verses from Matthew 11:28-30. I’ve been determined to learn how to live freely and lightly in the flow of the Holy Spirit. I’ve been discovering the unforced rhythms of grace. I’ve made this the theme of my writing and my life.
Then a few weeks ago while I was attending the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Dallas, Texas, I took a class called Live Free. Write Free. Honestly, I figured it would just be a relaxing class that would reinforce my own thoughts and beliefs on freedom. A friend of mine was one of the instructors, and I always enjoy hearing him speak. But the class pushed me to a new level of freedom, even after years of meditating on the subject.
At the end of the class the instructors offered a challenge. If we were willing, they would hand each of us a journal that they had prayed over and written anywhere from a few words to a paragraph in, as God directed them. Our assignment was to fervently seek the Lord in prayer about these words, and spend at least a few hours journaling about them. Again, I figured no big deal. I’m well acquainted with journaling. God often speaks to me in that way.
But as I struggled through the words written in my journal and focused on the images they created, they began to take me to new places. To confirm things God had been speaking to me, yet pushing me beyond them at the same time. And by the end of my journaling time, I had a new mission statement for the next three years.
SPACIOUS LIVING IN AN EXPANSIVE GOD.
I immediately started a study on the words spacious and expansive. The scripture passage above uses them both, and it touched me on a deep level. I’ve actually written an entire spiritual memoir about how I’ve felt trapped in my life, in my marriage and in my church—about how I’ve begun taking steps toward freedom by discovering intimacy with Christ.
But look at this: a wide-open, spacious life! This is a whole new level of freedom. God didn’t fence me in. The smallness I felt came from within me. I’ve been living my life in a small way. It’s time to open up. Open up and live expansively. What exactly does that mean? I’m not sure yet. Will you join me as I explore spacious living in an expansive God? Let’s take time to ponder that. Close your eyes and try to picture what it might look like. Next time we’re together, we’ll take a closer look at the word spacious.
God, please help us to let go of our own graven image versions of you. Help us to see your bigness, to truly understand your vastness. Don’t let us keep you in a safe little box. Show us what it looks like to live wide-open and spacious lives in the midst of an expansive God.