taking up space

About four years ago, an armful of my most precious dreams burned to the ground. It was during that season of sifting through the ashes of such BIG dreams that I considered the beauty and humility of “small.” In fact, #small was my #wordoftheyear last year. I branded it on a necklace and onto my soul. I didn’t want to be afraid of small and hidden deeds because I knew that God saw me and that was what mattered. Humility has been a reckless prayer of mine since I was about 16 years old and this seemed to braid around everything God was teaching me.

In some ways the growth of Homes & Havens has startled me. This tiny dream and all these small and mostly hidden acts of service have caught the attention of more people than I assumed it would. And suddenly, my prayer for “small” seemed like a cotton sweater that accidentally got put into the dryer. I never want to outgrow the importance on doing small and hidden things for Jesus, but I felt like something was shifting and expanding in my heart.

Then Hannah Brencher’s email found my inbox. It was titled: “Outgrowing prayers.”

She too has consistently prayed “Keep me small” for years as her platform has grown. Her friend told her the other day that she might be outgrowing that prayer and she needs to ask God to “Help me fill up my space.”

I feel a similar prayer to hers rising from my chest. “Help me to fill my spaces. Help me to not be apologetic for owning the space I'm in. Help me move and expand. Help me to not be sorry. Help me to feel worthy in my own skin so I can go out into the world and do everything you've called me to do.”

For so many years I’ve felt like I apologize for taking up space. I like to stand behind people so as not to get in the way. I prefer to be hidden in case I do something wrong or overstep my boundaries or say something unhelpful. I don’t feel the liberty to share the depths of my dreams, pain, or story, for fear people wouldn’t care or refuse to let me take up a little space.

Still churning on these thoughts, I repotted my ficus tree today because the roots were beginning to pile on top of the soil’s surface with no more space to grow. This feels like such a picture of my heart right now. God has pruned so much in me and now the new growth is coming in strong, but I’m not giving myself permission to take up more space.

As I sipped my coffee this morning, my eyes stretched across one of my favorite passages of Scripture in John 12: “Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

Her surrendered, broken, Jesus-adoring life filled up the entire house with fragrance. Her love for Jesus and her acts of worship took up space, it grabbed attention, and it could not be hidden.

I start to sweat just thinking about her courage.

“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:15-16)

So here I go. I’m gonna fill my space. I’m not hiding under a basket anymore. I shatter the alabaster. I want the world to smell the sweet fragrance of Christ. I want to give light to everyone in the house so they can see Him. Its terrifying, it’s awkward, but it’s time.

This is my year to #arise and #shine.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” (Is. 60:1)