Spiritual growth calls one to have an adventuresome outlook.  Life (and you could substitute God for life) seems to require expansion of self.  God describes this work in an ancient understanding: 

Enlarge the site of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.[1]

How might this verse look in our spiritual life today?  A bit like a home renovation project, perhaps.  If you have lived through a home renovation, you know the outcome requires deconstruction, dirt and dust, and eventually cleaning up.  One is best to wait until after the drywall is installed, taped, and sanded before vacuuming the floor. 

Spiritual development is similar to home renovations.  When we are very young, we understand God as more a magical presence capable of overriding the laws of physics for our personal gain.  As a kindergartener, I recall kneeling by the side of my bed, eyes heavenward, and asking God for a Chatty Cathy doll.  My limited understanding of God allowed me to believe and even expect God to rearrange the physical world, take (I think we call that stealing) the lovely pink box from the shop window, and drop her into my arms.  And while this may be an okay place to begin with prayer, it is not a great way to pray as a grown up. 

As we mature both chronologically and in expanded awareness of the world and God, I find that life’s experiences will either require or invite us to a more mature awareness of God and prayer.  This is called growth. 

The little-girl’s prayer moves from magical requests and demands of God to a more mature relationship with the Holy One.  I don’t have to know the answer to my prayers or even demand of God what I think is best, rather I rest in One who holds all the world in their hands.  I trust by means of my prayers.  I surrender as a daily practice to the One whose words have creative power.  In this process, and it may take several days or weeks, my mind finds quiet as I open myself over and over to what God’s answer might be. 

One of my childhood spiritual lessons from this Chatty Cathy prayer – God does not steal for my happiness.  God does not airlift me into a spot with better toys.  And several decades later – God still does not do that.  Nor have I experienced God doing it for anyone else.  Rest in this, my friend.  This is how our tents are enlarged. 


[1] Isaiah 54:2 (NRSV).

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