Shaping Your Space

“Heal so that you can hear what is being said without the filter of your wounds.” Dr. Thema

I wonder if Mary ever felt claustrophobic in the midst of her circumstances, an unwed pregnant teen, looking for a way out of a tight spot. No elbow room or give in the taut and tense corner of expected norms in the corner of her culture.

When I think of the Nativity story, I don’t picture Mary as a stressed out mom. I picture a serene, have-it-all-together mom who doesn’t over-budget her time, nor does she overschedule her young family. As a young mom, I often interpreted others’ opinions of my parenting or my children’s behaviors through a negative filter. It definitely left me feeling a little cornered and emotionally claustrophobic, and of course compensating for those insecurities by adding too much to the family schedule. I had some heart holes that needed healing.

I remember the longing I couldn’t put into words. It was a longing to find a place where there were no heart holes for me to fall through, no expectations for me to live up to. A place where I had elbow room to feel free:  free in my parenting, living untethered to the opinions of others. Living untethered to my own false sense of security and personal expectations.

I deceive myself by thinking I can have a limitless margin in life and not suffer the effects of running out of oxygen in my emotional tank. When I run low, my family feels the shock waves of it. The moment I start to fray at the edges is the moment I need to stop and recognize that the integrity of the moment is at risk. Definitely not a Mary moment.

The bottom line is that I am the one responsible for shaping my space and helping shape my family space in healthy ways. I can prevent burnout from happening by being more selective in my obligations outside the needs of my own family. Just because it is a good thing does not mean it is meant for me to “pick up” and add to my agenda. The words from Tasha Layton’s song echoes through my mind when I start spinning too many plates, ‘The enemy did everything that he could do’ to keep me busy; but, when I press pause and (sometimes) painfully remove some things from my agenda, only then am I able to see those heart holes getting filled in by the Healer, instead of superficially filling them with busyness.

Because His Word is where my hurts meet the Healer, the one thing that is always safe to pick up is the Bible, where the lies of should/could/would are rooted out and His omnipresence fills in the cracks of my insecurities. It is then that I can be fully present to live right where I am, without fear of stepping on my own cracked foundation. Living in the integrity of the moment. 

Did you catch the relationship? Living in the integrity of the moment. Not allowing the gods of Busy and Overscheduled to fasten onto me, like a taskmaster driving me to live life in fast-forward, furiously trying to spin all the plates. Living life fractured and fractioned, reduced and parceled out. Feeling like I can’t finish anything well. Incomplete.

And again I wonder, Did Mary feel the need to live at breakneck speed?

She certainly must have felt the weight of worry when others didn’t have room in their schedules for a relationship with her. Luke 2:7 reminds us that There was no room for them…Room. Noun. Space that can be occupied or where something can be done, especially viewed in terms of whether there is enough. But I always want to be enough for my family. I want to live in the integrity of the moment for my family. I am responsible for structuring the space for my family, before I can safely assume I have the ability to spin plates outside my own family.

But I make no room for His expressions in my life when I overbook myself.

The reality is that I do not have what it takes to be everything to everybody. Even Jesus, in His humanity, did not heal every person. In my own humanity, I am not omni-anything; but, what I lack in humanity, the Holy Spirit can make up for in me, offering in me a wholeness when I cooperate with His agenda. The offer of wholeness. Not full of holes, like an overused plastic ziplock bag that loses its integrity after time. Wholeness. Unbroken. Undamaged. Coherent. Integrous. I’m still learning this, but I echo with confidence the chorus of Look What You’ve Done:

“Standing in Your presence, Lord, I can feel You digging all the roots up; I feel you healing all the wounds up, all I can say is Hallelujah!”

I will walk with a heart of integrity in my own house.
Psalm 101:2

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