It was in a hot yoga class that I first heard the phrase. “Create space,” the instructor says after calling out our next pose.
At first, I brushed it off. I was too busy trying to, you know, do the pose. The twisting and contorting and all that work was taking my attention, and I didn’t give a second’s thought to what it meant to actually create space.
But after a few more classes, after a few instructors giving me tips and helping me twist or fold deeper, I realized the advice to create space was powerful. The next time I heard those words in class, I took them seriously. I took a deeper breath. I stretched wider. I adjusted my body to move into the pose better, and I felt such a difference. I felt my shoulders open up, my knees bend further, my ribs expand as I pushed up into a backbend.
Creating space changed everything.
I took 21 hot yoga classes in the month of July, a month that was full of travel and a long list of work responsibilities and many evening activities. It seemed impossible to spend that much time at the yoga studio… but I created space. I woke up earlier than usual to make it to the 6 am class. I shifted plans with friends around so I could still hang out but then head to the studio afterward. I planned my errands around when I’d already be in that area of town.
Creating space changed everything.
I’m realizing just how true this is in all areas of my life.
I read a lot of books (like 130 so far this year) and people are constantly asking me how I do it. The answer? Yep, you guessed it. Creating space.
It’s the same way I balance a full time job, a personal blog, freelance writing, and managing another site of 30+ writers, and babysitting for several families I love. It’s the same way I attend weekly counseling sessions. It’s the same way I get outside, go on hikes, and explore my city. I just simply create space.
If there’s one common thing among all of us these days, it’s that we’re busy. We say it as a standard greeting all the time (“How are you?” “Busy!”) We see it in our iCals and our planners. We feel it deep in our bones– we are crazy busy, and it’s wearing us out and wearing us down. I so often hear people saying “Oh, I don’t have time for _____.” I get that. I know how it feels when the calendar is booked and the invitations keep coming and the to-do list grows miles long. I know how it feels to think there’s no way I could do one more thing, considering I can’t even do all the things already on my plate.
The thing about creating space is that it doesn’t require a massive overhaul of anything. It really just requires simple adjustments. Moving things around, shifting a bit, letting a few things go, and carving out pockets for more of what is good and more of what matters most.
I’m reminded of the passage in Matthew 11 where Jesus is talking to people about the kind of life he is offering. I read it and think about how it’s great advice for creating space.
The Message says it this way: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me– watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn how to live freely and lightly.”
Jesus is offering us space. He’s offering to take burdens, to release us from guilt and shame, to forgive us from our sin, and to help us find the better, healthier rhythms in life that will restore us and make us whole. He gives us such a gift. That’s grace.
I’m grateful this whole “creating space” thing isn’t just up to me. I’m grateful that even though I’m the one in the yoga class doing the work, there’s an instructor waiting in the wings to help me adjust as needed to do the very best I can. I’m grateful that’s just as true in our faith– God is always near to us, always desiring to lift the loads from our shoulders and show us how to recover our lives.
Create some space today. Whether in your body, your calendar, your quiet time, or just in your heart, adjust as needed to settle deeper into more of what the Lord has in store for you.