Making room is hard work. Kinda makes you want to pull a face like this cool cat below!
Talking about making room is easy - that just requires us to think for ourselves or dialogue with others.
Making plans to make room - it's a bit more effort, but there's no mess yet. Just some cool design ideas or calendar suggestions.
But when it comes to actually making room...well that gets messy:
We make room for God and people in our calendar, and then life throws all sorts of spanners in the works.
We make room by adding an extension to the house - and then comes the months of dirty being walked through the house, the laundry being transformed into a makeshift study, and having people constantly through our home as things get pulled down, remade, and finished.
It is no wonder that we can put making room off. Or turn up our faces, literally or metaphorically, to it.
But we haven't even considered the killer blow to making room - being uncomfortable.
When it comes to making room in reality, the biggest challenge we face is being made uncomfortable as we seek to make changes, improvements, or alterations to our lives - whether literally in our living spaces, or figuratively, in our relationship spaces.
This year is to Make Room to go, grow and gather:
To make room in our lives to go to those who don't know Jesus like we do.
To make room in our lives to grow in our walk with our Master, Jesus Christ.
To make room in our lives to gather and encourage each other as Jesus' followers, and further, to help gather people who don't know Jesus like we do together with those who do.
There is all sorts of uncomfortable in these three make room callings.
There is the discomfort of engaging with people who don't share our worldview. There is the discomfort of sharing our worldview in a way that is honest but open and loving with others. There is the discomfort of growing our relationship with the living God - inspiring but yet full of challenging and unknown prospects. And then there is the discomfort of gathering with people we may know at various levels, and building bridges of connection, trust, and mutual respect.
I think being honest with ourselves and each other is the first step to making room. This is going to be hard work. This is going to be uncomfortable. The second step is to get inspiration, especially inspiration from God, that will give us strength to engage in the hard work, and push through the uncomfortable that is ahead. And I think Hebrews can help us, especially as it describes how Jesus - our chief source of inspiration - pushed through the discomfort of the Cross. Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
What inspiration can we draw out of these three verses to help gain strength for the hard work ahead?
We have allot of people (in biblical history, and in general history) who have already pushed through uncomfortable. It's always good to read their stories, but putting it simply - if other humans like us have been able to push through uncomfortable, why can't we too?
Hindrances and sin are chief discomforts that we've got to watch out for ahead. The truth is, God is into making room. But we're prone to collect hindrances in this life, and making room is going to rub us up the wrong way and cause sin to surface. We need to learn to throw these off, through God's empowering grace and Spirit.
Jesus is our chief inspiration, one worth fixing our eyes on above all else, in the hard work ahead. Jesus is our pioneer - Jesus has already done the hard work of our Salvation, and faced every type of human temptation and discomfort we do. The magnificent difference is - He overcame them all, and can help us to do likewise.
We could draw more inspiration from these verses, but I'll leave that to you.
For the week ahead
I'd encourage you, along with me (I'm in the same boat as everyone else here), to do the following two things:
Take some time to acknowledge where you find the hard work of making room most daunting, and where you're anticipating the most discomfort to come.
Take some time to bring what is daunting and anticipated to Jesus in prayer and listen for what truth, promises, and strategies He has for you, in response. Especially considering my third inspiration point above, Jesus is with us to help us turn the hard work into joyful work.
Pressing in to making room with you in 2021!
Written by Ps. Rob