He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me
(Psalm 18:19, NIV 1984).

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to rearrange the furniture in some rooms in our home. We wanted more balance in the shapes and heights of chests and tables and chairs. But mostly we did the work to open up space in the rooms. Around the same time, we went through some closets and decided on better uses of the shelves, moving books and games and supplies to be more accessible, putting similar items together.

It occurred to me when we were finished that Lent is a time for the same sort of discipline in our spiritual lives. We open space in our hearts for the grace of God, removing the clutter, rearranging our priorities, looking at how the various aspects of our daily routine fit with the purposes of God for us. And we go into those hidden parts of ourselves—the “closets”—and examine what’s there. Then we bring those secret needs and fears out into the open in an act of bold vulnerability, either so they can be healed or their energy channeled. And by the same token, we may discover within ourselves hidden treasures, emotional resources we didn’t know we had, like someone who finds a long-forgotten photo or card tucked away in a drawer or inside a book on a shelf.

As Lent continues, why not do some actual physical rearrangement of your home or office, knowing that environment quite often has a profound effect on attiude and emotions? And while you’re at it, how about creating some space for grace (James Forbes’ phrase) in your life?


© 2012 Tom Cheatham. All rights reserved.