• Michelle Joy • January 19, 2021 •
Have you ever had someone pop in at your house unannounced, and you were completely unprepared? You had projects strewn all over your couch, laundry all over your chair. What did you do? You made room. You scurried around shoving everything on your couch into one corner. You scooped up all your laundry. You made room, all the while apologizing for the mess.
Have you ever needed to squeeze someone else into your car amidst piles of recycling or backpacks? What did you do? You pulled everything into a pile, trying to make it smaller, and you made room.
How about that time on a plane, trying to shove your carry-on in the overhead compartment, and passengers were trying to squeeze past you? What did you do? You probably tried to make yourself as small as possible. You squeezed yourself in and smooshed yourself as close to the seats in front of you, out of the aisle, as much as you could to allow for passengers to maneuver past you.
When we need to squeeze someone in, we know how to make space. When things get tight, we know how to make ourselves smaller. We really haven’t changed the size of the space or our physical size, but we’ve changed the amount of space things or we are taking up. We’ve made room.
God gave me the vision one morning of making room for Him. Moving everything to one end of the couch, all my clutter, to make a space for Him. I was allowing stress and worry to take up so much space that I wasn’t giving Him any room in the middle of my struggles. I wasn’t inviting Him in. With my actions, I was saying, “There’s no room.”
So often our lives become completely cluttered with the busyness of our jobs and family commitments. Our lives can be cluttered with stress and worry about our health, finances, relationships, our kids, or big decisions. These things can take up so much room in our lives, that when God opens the car door to join us, we say, “There’s no room.”
Have you been on an elevator with a large group of people? The elevator door opens, and there’s someone standing there waiting to join you. You all look around at each other and the lack of space. You have two choices in the moment. You can look at the person and say, “There’s no room.” OR you can start squeezing yourselves together to allow room for this person.
God is standing at our elevator door. He wants us to make room for Him in the midst of our crowded lives, in the midst of our stress and worry. He wants us to look around at what surrounds us, make it smaller, and make room for Him. He wants invited into our struggles, our pain, our worries. He wants those to take up less space in our lives and allow Him to become our focus.
In John 3:30 the NIV version says, “He must become greater; I must become less.” In this passage, John the Baptist knows that people can’t follow him while also following Jesus. If what John has been doing is working, people should be moving away from him and moving toward becoming Jesus’ disciples. John has to become less, and Jesus has to become greater.
People are watching how we navigate the hard things in life. Are we showing them that it’s all about us and what great problem solvers we are? Or, are we pointing them to Jesus as we give Him room to move in our situations? Is Jesus becoming greater in their eyes or are we? All we do needs to point to Jesus.
God wants us to make room in our disappointments.
Make room in our pain.
Make room in our worry.
In 1 Peter 5:7 it says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
So, how do we make room for God and cast our anxiety on him? This is what I’ve found helps me.
1. Acknowledge Him. Even though this can be difficult when we are having a hard time. When I’m struggling, I sometimes feel like I have to take things into my own hands. Doubt tries to creep into my mind. I can feel far from God. The enemy wants to isolate us. He wants us to feel alone. He doesn’t want us to turn to God because the enemy knows that is where our rescue is. It’s so important in these moments to acknowledge God no matter if we feel like it or not. Do you feel distant from God? Fight that feeling and force yourself back into closeness no matter what. Acknowledge He’s with you. Acknowledge He’s close. Say it even when you don’t feel it. When you acknowledge someone, you look at them. You talk to them. They become your focus. Psalm 91:14 says, “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God is our rescue, and we need to acknowledge Him, whether we feel like it or not. This needs to become a daily discipline of crucifying our flesh and giving Him rightful place in our lives. I know, I know. It’s hard when we’re struggling. I so get it, but I promise you, this works! Say, “God, I know you love me. I know you are close to me. I acknowledge my need for you, and I invite you into this situation. I am making room for you. I need you.”
2. Worship Him. Even when we want to sit in our sadness. Worship is often a sacrifice. It is painful at first because it goes against what our flesh is wanting to do. We are wanting to feel sorry for ourselves and tell ourselves that we are all alone and no one cares. Psalm 95:6 says, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” And, in Psalm 63:3-4, it says, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” Let your worship flow from a place of sacrifice, and I promise you, the darkness will begin to lift. Turn on worship music. Sing out your worship. Let your heart praise Him through your pain.
3. Trust Him. Even when my flesh tells me to do the opposite. I tell my emotions to line up with what the Word says. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” I have found myself making a habit of saying, “God, I trust you. I don’t know what is going to happen in this mess, but I trust you. I give this situation fully to you. I can’t solve this. I can’t fix this. I trust you with it, Lord.”
4. Rest in Him. Resist picking back up what you’ve laid down at His feet through acknowledging, trusting, and worshiping. Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Rest in knowing He is working for your good. He promises to give you beauty for ashes. He promises to never leave you or forsake you. Take a deep breath. Rest. I love this passage of scripture: “In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in You; do not let me be put to shame, not let my enemies triumph over me…Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” Psalm 25: 1-2, 4-6.
There are times we want to right the wrong. We want to save the day. We want to fix the failure. We want to be the savior, the rescuer. We are convinced we are right or we have the answer.
Yes, there are times to speak up, but so often, I believe, the Lord is wanting us to become less and allow Him to become more in all of our situations. He’s wanting us to acknowledge Him, worship Him, trust Him, and rest in Him. When we think we need to have all the answers or our ways are the best ways and everyone should do what we say, we leave no room for God to move. We are saying with our actions, “There’s no more room. I’ve got this, God.”
I am learning and growing in this. When I start to feel anxious, worried, or fearful, I’m trying hard to have my first response be letting God into the situation. If someone is in the wrong, I have to trust that God is bigger than the situation, and He can right the wrong. If I’m wrong, I have to trust that God will show me and readjust me. But, if I don’t invite Him into the situation, if I shut Him out and shut Him up, I’m on a path of destruction. I am making myself a god instead of allowing Him to be God in my life.
Let’s be like John the Baptist. Let our lives point people to Jesus. Let the way we handle the hardships of life reveal the beauty of who Jesus is in our lives, our Lord and Savior, our rescuer.
Spend some time praying today and allow the Lord to bring situations to your mind where He is wanting to be invited in. Allow Him in. Make room.