I am a doer. I love doing ALL.THE.THINGS. Be on the planning committee for a women's event at church? Yes please. Be on the steering team for our local mom’s program? Duh! Speak at a women’s event? I’m in. Oh you need a room parent for my daughter’s Kindergarten class? Of course I can! I love having a seat at the table and being in the game. It’s not that I can’t say no, it’s that I genuinely LOVE it! Who’s with me?
Everywhere we turn, there is a need and a choice, and it’s not about choosing between good and bad but between good and good. If we have any empty space in our schedules, why wouldn't we fill it with more good things?
But consider this: What if having space in your life is the difference between God giving you His best gifts or not?
This past summer as I sat in an ordinary Sunday morning service at church, the pastor made space at the end of his message for us to listen for the voice of Jesus, and that is exactly what I heard Him say.
“Ministry is the outflow of intimacy. You cannot confuse the two. You need to make space in your life, because I have something for you but you cannot have it because you have no room.”
Whoa. I mean, I know I am busy, but you're telling me that when I do All. The. Things. “in Jesus’ name” I don't have room for Him?
Now, my prayer has always been to accomplish the things God has for me, but does every last thing we do have to be spoken by God himself? I would say no. But if those things are taking up space intended for the things He has in store for us, then saying no to some opportunities must be crucial.
I see so many women in this exact spot. We have undoubtedly confused the two — ministry and intimacy. We keep filling our lives up until we cannot possibly squeeze another hour out of our day, all while proudly thinking “I’m a machine!” Proving to ourselves and the world that we are valuable and capable. I’ve heard it said, “If the devil can’t make us bad, he makes us busy.” We are busy filling our lives with things that God never asked us to do. He didn't ask me to speak at two women’s events, start a side business, work a part time job, train for an ultra-marathon for missions and hold down life as a pastor’s wife and mother of two, but there I was doing it. He did ask some of that from me, but most certainly not all.
God doesn't love us because we do, but simply because we are. He wants to give us dreams, purpose and divine assignments, but we don't have room for them.
By nature, my spaces are cluttered. I am not a minimalist. If you open a closet in my house, duck and weave or something might fall on you. I have to play Jenga in my freezer and I store stuff under the beds! If there is space, I fill it. And what is true in the physical is usually true in the spiritual, so why would I expect my life to be any different? If God had a gift to give me, I would have nowhere to put it.
We cannot live in the spaces God has for us when we are filling our lives with our own ambitions. We can pretend, or even believe all of those ambitions were given to us by Him and we are doing them for Him, but that can’t be true when there is no space for intimacy with Him. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s not about what we can do or accomplish, but what God can do in us and through us.
“You grow when you are as committed to what God is doing in you as to what God is doing through you.” — Christine Caine
I imagine that is what intimacy and ministry look like hand in hand.
So as we move toward what God has for us, let’s be challenged to do less and make space. To ask ourselves if we are doing good things or God things, because good and great things are not always God things. I want to have space for God’s very best gifts, don't you?
About Liz Martin
Liz Martin is a Minnesota city girl who is learning the rural life. Being a wife and a mama to two beautiful loves is making her more like Jesus. With 12 years of ministry in her pocket, she has seen and felt the need for Jesus daily and knows that He will never waste our pain. She has a passion to teach others that growing in Christ comes in the most unexpected ways but that He is always good. When she isn’t “momming” or working alongside her husband at church, you can find her running, capturing moments behind a camera or spending time with sweet family and friends.