You don’t have to be or live in the city in order to understand the concept of making room. We do it every day—we make room in our closets for the Christmas tree once the holidays have come on gone, we make room for guests, we make room for people at the table. The interesting thing however, is that while we’re good at making room for some things, especially those of us in fast-paced cities, we’re not so good at making room for other, more fundamentally helpful things.
Reorienting our “needy” complex
In a city like New York we carefully think through every square inch of space. Seldom do we make room for things that will not have direct benefit for ourselves. Quite frankly, we operate as if to say, “we don’t have the time to think of other’s needs because we’re so needy ourselves.” If we’re not careful we can fall to the rhythms of the culture around us and become insular. Busyness gets redefined and seen more as “making room” for what is most important to us in those moments— success, approval, comfort.
We’re talking about how we emotionally and spiritually make room for things to flourish in our lives—for our sake, for other’s sake and the fame of Jesus.
Yet I’m reminded of Proverbs 30:5 where God draws our attention to what He desires to be for those looking for success, approval and comfort, “every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”When we talk about making room, we’re not simply talking about how we physically accommodate for something or someone to exist in a space. We’re talking about how we emotionally and spiritually make room for things to flourish in our lives—for our sake, for other’s sake and the fame of Jesus.
Planning for and from meaningful moments
Time away from our normal rhythms is refreshingly important. We recently took some family time off and from some time with my wife, we realized that our family flourishing is important to us and that a failure to make room for meaningful moments with God and each other would brings some consequences sooner or later. In efforts to grow healthily by finding refuge in the presence of God, here are a few things to consider:
Rest makes room for this kind of thanksgiving and when we avoid a life of rest, we lose Divine perspective and ultimately fail to be thankful and forgiving.
Making room for rest and celebration makes room for forgiveness
Either life offers you experiences that are life-giving or life-draining. Either your life experiences produces Divine joy or they rob it from you. “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.”I’m always shocked by that address. If you know anything about Paul’s relationship with this local church, you would know that the Corinthians made his life incredibly difficult. Yet, in his opening, before addressing any of their mess, he praises them. Rest makes room for this kind of thanksgiving and when we avoid a life of rest, we lose Divine perspective and ultimately fail to be thankful and forgiving.
Making room for rest shapes a healthy view of progress
My biggest pitfall in leadership has been measuring progress by the number of people with me and not fundamentally the depth of intimacy with God and others. While it’s true that often times the leading contributor to numeric church growth is depth of relationship, it’s also been my experience that depth of relationship does not always produce those numbers.
As leaders and pioneers what we need most is emotional and spiritual strength when things don’t seem to be growing, working or moving.
Sometimes things don’t grow, not because you’re doing something wrong or something in your system is off, but rather because, quite simply, God’s not grown them. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” As leaders and pioneers what we need most is emotional and spiritual strength when things don’t seem to be growing, working or moving. For leaders, progress should mean health even when the circumstances are unfavorable. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. he is like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when the heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Published February 17, 2016