A while back I wrote a post called 4 Steps to Living a Spacious Life. It was about an epiphany I’d had after I attended the Jumping Tandem Retreat. When I came home from that exhilarating, inspiring, exhausting weekend, I read these verses in 2 Corinthians:
“I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life…The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way…Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively.”(2 Corinthians 6:11-13)
I knew right then, that was my dream, my goal: to enter the wide-open, spacious life and to live openly and expansively.
I tend to live small. I live inward, as I wrote in that blog post — a cramped existence, crumpled into myself, in a place crowded with expectations and insecurities, a place fraught with comparison and fear. But I haven’t let go of that dream or those words since I first read them last April. I believe they hold the key to living authentically.
I believe God wants each of us to live in that wide-open spacious place. I believe he desires that carefree, liberated, unburdened existence for us. But in order to get there, in order to move from that cramped, inwardly focused place into wildly abundant spaciousness, we have to trust.
Last Saturday I received a complimentary and kind email from an agent. He’d read a bit of my blog, he said, and simply wanted to encourage me to keep up the good work. I sat stunned as I read his short email, which began, “You don’t know me but…”
It wasn’t true. I did know him.
Four years ago I had queried this same agent for the memoir I’d written, and four years ago he had rejected my pitch. He had given a number of reasons (which, I should add, was more than I received from most queries), and I had cried for days, because that’s what I always did when I received a rejection.
Four years ago I would have have given my left arm for the email I received from him out of the blue this past Saturday. It would have been nothing short of a miracle to receive an unsolicited email from an agent, and I would have interpreted it as a very, very good sign.
I laughed when I told Brad about the email. Well, I laughed and I kvetched a little bit, too. He knows what an email like that would have meant to me four years ago. But, as I told Brad — and I believe this deep down in my heart — “2009 wasn’t the time.” The time for this book wasn’t back in 2009, no matter how hard I pushed and pulled and tried to wrestle it into being, because God wanted 2014. If only I had known that then. If only I had listened and trusted.
You see, I can’t live carefree and liberated, I can’t step into that wide-open spacious life unless I trust God and hand every last bit of myself and my dreams and my goals over to him. Choosing to live tyrannized by my wants and expectations means I live small and defeated, afraid and weak and angry. Choosing to trust means I live in wild, carefree abundance, free to pursue what God wants from me, rather than what I want, in that moment instead.
The smallness you feel comes from within, Paul says – not from her or him or them. Not from your job, your family, your past, your present circumstances or even your life as a whole, but from yourself, from within you. Want to live freely and authentically as who God made you to be? Then turn outward and upward, away from yourself. Look out and up at God and step boldly into openness.
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