Making Space

I was watching basketball on T.V. yesterday while running on the treadmill (and also reading a book about the human microbiome, checking in on Clash of Clans and texting my team manager to clear up an issue with our TeamSnap account....because certainly it is not wasting time if I am filling it with five different activities at once, right?)

Now, most of you know I love soccer. I have also learned to appreciate American football and NHL over the years, but I have never cared much for basketball. (Thank you Liam for constantly exposing me....as if, like taste buds, that might one day change.)

At any rate, as I was watching this bunch of incredibly fit men run back and forth, taking shots and getting in each other's way, the commentator made the statement: "Look how well he created space there."

A bell went off in my head. As a coach, how many times do I ask my players: what is the importance of all these moves; the change of direction moves, feints, stops and starts? What do these skills do for you?

I ask them repeatedly.

Those that listen know: they create space.

In sports, as in life, we need space to maneuver. And for the most part, it is up to us to create that space. It won't be created for us. More than likely, without conscious work toward creating space, we will be overwhelmed with stuff, with things to do, with responsibilities, with opponents that can overtake us and our time, in one way or another. As I tell my soccer players, plowing through your opponent does not usually work out that well. Making space, however, even if it means changing directions, or stopping and starting again, can put you in the position to move forward and make things happen.

Practicing the disciplines of Lent affords us the opportunity to create space, to allow for the giving up of that which distracts and pulls and tempts and consumes and overwhelms; that which blocks us from our purpose and a steadfast relationship with God. (And no, fasting from parenting duties for Lent is not an option, as space-creating as that might sound.....)

For my family, making room this year means fasting from wastefulness, purging ourselves of worldly clutter, that we may be open to the Divine. It means clearing out that which we do not use in order to create space for the stuff we do. (Man, I hate it when my husband is right!) It means saving our calorie intake for calories that fuel and sustain, not inflame and destroy, the temple that is our body. It means using time on activities that honor our gifts rather than drain us of life. It means living with the discomfort of vacancy, not relentlessly filling the void as soon as possible, as we have done time and time again. It means clearing out to allow God to move within.

We recognize there will be days of success, as well as moments we fall flat on our faces, and some days will include a little of both....but no matter what, we keep coming back to the table, to remove the junk so that we may have room for the Bread of Life.

Try, try again, they say.

Just show up, I say.

Follow me, Jesus says.

And then stop doing what you have always done and make space.

And in your showing up and space-making, your fasting and following, know that nothing we do (or don't do) could ever be enough. And that is the point.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

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