February 8, 2024

A Broad Place: We Do Not Live in a Shoebox

Thrive blogger, Amy Dunn, reflects on Miroslav Volf and creating a broad place in which we can grow and become.

When we were first married, my husband and I lived in a small but precious one-bedroom apartment on some family property. We loved it dearly and it came with some perks—like the fact that our uncle is especially gifted at making cheesecake. But when we had our daughter, our apartment started to feel cramped. When we moved into a bigger home, our family had more room to roam and grow.

There can be a mindset about God that His rules of life cramp us—telling us what to do, who to hang out with, who we can or cannot be. But scripture tells us the opposite. God is so expansive—how could we possibly be cramped when we are attached to him?

Life is a developmental process and we can grow into this space where we do not feel cramped, but this space is in the context of a wholeness. It is a paradox—there is a spaciousness to be and become ourselves, but we are designed to do this with and for others. 

When the children of Israel were liberated from Pharaoh, God promised he would lead them out of slavery in Egypt to a broad place in which there were no constraints such as they had experienced in Egypt. The House of Pharaoh is a house of constricted spaces. This can be a metaphor for many settings, even religious, that try to reduce God and religion to rules that cramp people’s style. That is really a picture of a false God. 

God wants us to have space to be and become ourselves not for our own end, not to be full of ourselves, but to live a full life for God. That is freeing. God rejoices in His creation and has made each person uniquely gifted. With that, He offers us the space to grow into who we are and into our gifts. To do this—to be a good steward of who we are—is, in a sense, honoring God’s creation. When we think of God in terms of His expansiveness instead of as constricting, we can remember that we are a beloved creation and have been given the space to steward who we are.

Thrive Center


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