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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

A Wide-Open Life

“Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” (2 Corinthians 6:11-13, MSG).

Paul’s letter could have easily been addressed: “Dear, dear Daphne…” or Frank, or Sarah, or Gary, or Amber. Each of us, at one time or another, could have been found in the middle of this text — living small lives.

I recently told someone I’ve lived in an apartment, a duplex, a tiny home, a midsize home, and a big home. But what made each of them special to me was not their size, but God’s presence there with me. In fact, some of my fondest memories are from those early years of living in small quarters (looking for quarters in the couch when grocery or gas money was low). But we didn’t live in a small way because of the size of our home or our wallet. I was learning how much a BIG GOD loved me in a BIG WAY.

When I was younger, I wrestled with so much insecurity. The smallness I felt definitely came from within me. I had more voices speaking negatively to me inside than I ever had on the outside. I was the bully — to myself (with the devil’s help).

But God kept revealing His love to me through His Word. I especially loved that I attended a church at the time that sang worship songs full of God’s Word — His Word put to music and tailored like a prayer. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to open up. And that’s what I did with every song I’d belt out at the top of my lungs, not caring a bit how it sounded.

When you’ve lived in cramped quarters, nothing feels better than to go outside and run and play — to stretch your legs so to speak. The same is true of our insides. Our heart wasn’t made to live closed up, tight, and withdrawn. I believe God smiles when we begin to open up and really let Him (Truth) come in and expand.

However, it’s a process of revelation. I remember one time being at church, hands lifted, singing at the top of my lungs, when that bully-voice within me said, “Who do you think you are? Get your hands down and act right. Don’t you remember what all you’ve done?” And I immediately closed myself back up. The voice of condemnation reminded me of my past and I didn’t know enough of God’s Word or His love to realize it wasn’t God trying to fence me in — it was the enemy.

Thankfully, over time, and because I didn’t stop reading my Bible, going to church, singing or praying, that God was able to move the fences in my heart. There was a wide-open, spacious life He designed for me (and you). I’m so grateful I found it.

If you feel enclosed, maybe your heart needs to open up. As the Bible says, you are not restricted by others,

“… but you are restricted by your own affections” (2 Corinthians 6:12, NKJV).

In other words, no one can close off your heart but you. So I pray, no matter how many negative things have come against you, that you would open up to the One who wants to help you explore a wide-open life of love.

Copyright © 2019 Daphne Delay, used with permission.

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