Devotionals & Walk with God · Missional Motherhood · Preaching · Preaching , Teaching & Writing · Teaching & Writing

How to Make Space When Life Feels Overcrowded

The birds chirped gayly outside of my front porch, flitting and flapping and basking in the now glorious sun. Sweet moments of warmth covered the earth, dabbed the downpour and lifted my soul, and both birds and I were soon humming together…

I caught myself gazing at the refraction of light on the dirt muddy soil, pools of sand whirling with raindrops seeking to be dry…I too, am soaking in sun’s tender warmth, gasping for soul’s fresh air to feel dry, when life’s drenched me with its wet, crazy pace.

I glanced at my day’s activities on my note app…my daily list, my chores, my commitments… a list which seems longer than the day itself …and I wonder…”since when did life become so frenzied, so chaotic?”.

Were I to slice time into a thousand different ways, would i still manage to find the space to think, to do and to be, when life’s hard pressed me with errands and responsibilities and kids?

I remember sitting across a row of doctors just recently – student doctors, trainee doctors, seasoned doctors, rural doctors, missionary doctors, mother doctors…all grappling with the issue of which decisions to make – which specialty to choose from, which hospital to work at, which rotations to go for – all that would make life, and lifestyle commitments, more manageable, balanced and worth the living.

My heart raced as I conversed with a friend barely surviving her day – three children under three, and a husband who feels maxed out – and that he needs to stay sane by keeping away from the home – “these days are dark…”, she muttered…feeling suffocated with the loss of time, the loss of sleep, the giving up of her joband with that her social life, her income, her identity…

I nodded – I understand the scene too well. How do I help a frustrated friend who works hard all-day long in this dog-eat-dog world claiming, “I don’t even have time for me!” fist in the air, when asked about what he thought about coming back to church.

Lump in my throat..jaw clenching…this scenario’s probably too close to many of us living on this side of the Western world – a feeling of being overcrowded, and without the extra space and margin in life.

How do you make space for what you love in life when you’ve got responsibilities demanding time and energy, and life’s already set like that? 

How do you make time to think and read and dream and be when there are dishes to clear, laundry to wash, stomachs to fill, deadlines to meet, clients to please? 

Tell me, how does one make space for what truly matters when life already feels overcrowded?

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I turned open the pages of the Bible, fingered my way around the names of God on the cover…His truth is a burning ember, a beacon of light in this drowning heart of mine.

I came across Jacob…and between him and I, we share more similarities than I dare to admit.

“Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran…” (Genesis 28:10) and I started my own journey with Jacob fleeing from his place of home – “Beersheba“. That place of comfort and security had choked him bad with a tangled mess of family feuds, broken relationships and a deep brotherly resentment.

I too, have often felt like running away from home…because home is a perpetual reminder of things I need doing – relationships I need to mend, miscommunications I need to clear, anger I need to resolve, differences I need to work on,  and oh yeah –  the hard stuff of life I need to do everyday to grow our souls…and I am sometimes left feeling out of space.

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Our “Haran” may be the dream of being in a place undefined by time and capacity. As Jacob envisioned his new land, we too wanted to start anew – in a place where we could breathe, pursue the deep in us, be what we are ‘meant to be’ – far from the mundane, the menial, the meaningless. In a life like ours, this kind of space can be hard to find…

When Jacob incidentally lighted upon a certain place, staying there that night because the sun had set, he had no idea that this insignificant, transitionary place would become a meeting place with God. This place was hardly a destination, yet it became to him his “Bethel” – the house of God!

“If life ever makes you wish that you could have more time and space to do things that really matter, but feel like there isn’t enough of you to go around- then meet the God who transformed Jacob’s mess into space.”

Jacob “took one of the stones of the place, put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep” (v11). And “he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!” (v12)

I too want to come upon that sacred place where the pathway of heaven and earth meets and God’s supernatural meets my natural world…

That ladder typifies the Cross of Christ, the bridge that met humanity’s brokenness with heaven’s redemption. 

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When God met Jacob and declared,“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac”, He stood above the ladder and said “I AM”. And He promised protection, provision and promotion and with that – Jacob’s place within His perfect plan to save humanity.

Jacob’s once messy history became included in God’s perfect story.

I want to remove my shoes and bow low down…

“I AM” lives in the present and wants to commune with us  in our day to day… No matter how dark our world is, “I AM” reigns. Sometimes it has to get really dark before His glory can shine really bright. Sometimes it has to get really bad before our faith can get really strong. I want to know this I AM.

Jacob encountered God… and was profoundly impacted, and this once broken, conniving,disdained Jacob, became engrafted into God’s redemptive plan.

It was upon that space, that Jacob realised he had a place. A place in life to be and to do. An identity greater than his past. A calling larger than his darkness. A space much bigger than his mess.

I cried alongside Jacob – “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (v16)

Both Jacob and I had an awakening moment – God was making His space within our space…God redefining space in a realm unrestricted and unconstrained by what restricts and constrains us.

I am no more a perfect girl. I sob.

This was the moment of time, the kairos in the chronos, our chaos being kissed by His grace – our brokenness rolling into His redemption – and we find ourselves lovingly placed right where we are supposed to be – safe in the centre of His plan. 

The clouds shifted over my window – my words caught in my throat – I was beginning to catch this glimpse – God is able to create space within space where the gate of Heaven is opened in the corner of our world,  and where divine favour can rest earthly woes.

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How did Jacob manage to be in the presence of the Divine and not realise that God was there?

Could God be here with me today and I missed seeing Him in my everyday?

Could His eyes be lovingly watching over me and I fear dangers abound? 

Spurgeon preached on this passage once and persuaded his readers to live in the awareness of God’s omnipresence. God with us – longing to make His habitations with us.  We don’t have to live in yesterday’s glory when we can soak in His wonderful presence now. 

We need to awaken our senses and see Him today, because…it is in meeting God in His space which enlarges my actual space – and my capacity to do and to be.

He is the breakthrough that we need – we don’t need more of this world but more of His Word. 

Broad will our world be  if only we could awaken our soul to capture the experience of living in the full consciousness of His nearness today.

The space that I need to make, and be and do – is the ability to see God in the everything I do. 

The Holy interjecting Our Ordinary…

The Divine interrupting Our Daily…

Eternal Permanence infusing Our Limitedness…

God making Heavenly Space within the Lives of Earthly Confines…

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Because God wants to meet us in our everyday – the place that we commute and converse, we will experience the new joy that accompanies living with faith and vision.

The shadow’s shifted and my heart’s found its freedom song… I want to step into my day consciously aware that “this is the house of God…”. We really are  alive in His presence, unentangled and awakened.

5 thoughts on “How to Make Space When Life Feels Overcrowded

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