Making Space and Navigating Grace


Have you seen those t-shirts? The ones that say Hustle in sparkly gold letters? I’ve seen them everywhere from Amazon to mall kiosks, always smugly bearing the same word. I’ve bought into the trend unknowingly, ever since I can remember. Hustle is for successes. Hustle will bring me achievement and happiness and value. As I keep digging holes for myself and running into brick walls, I’m slowly learning that those t-shirts are really just sad straightjackets. You see, the world brands us with a glittery Hustle, but God is whispering a calming grace. 

Lately, grace keeps getting spoken into my heart. Probably because I keep refusing to learn it. “No thanks, God,” I say. “Thanks for the help, but this time I’ve got it all on my own. Maybe later?”

Feelings of anxiety, performance pressure, and seemingly random bouts of discontent colored life right before break. A life change had to happen, and step one was seriously cutting back on social media. That left room for my first love, long forgotten: books. Anything, everything, all the time. Over break, two very different books, by two very different authors, both hit a note that echoed to every inch within me a single idea, given by God.

Make space.

“What?” was my first response. (I’m always patient and faithful, didn’t you know?)

Make space, this time more insistently.

Making space isn’t some weekend project for me. It’s not a request like, “can you run by the bank?” Or, “would you mind doing these dishes?” It’s a deep-down, scary call for a heart change. I like to pad my life intermittently with too much stuff, food, activities, and responsibilities. Refusing to leave space means also refusing to deal with emotions, or anything inconvenient, simply because there’s not enough time. Sweet deal, right? Maybe. But refusing to leave space also rejects the grace of God. Instead of navigating a life propelled by his love, it makes a frantic life spurred on my fear of failure and shame of letting anything slip. A life without space puts me in the driver’s seat, but without any directions.

That insistent “make space” came from God. It may not sound like much, but the call to make space is a serious upside-down, scramble-around lifestyle change. Making space requires setting aside my idols of productivity, responsibility, and intellect. Making space doesn’t come with a plan. Making space requires me to allow my feelings to be felt, with more listening and less talking. Making space means less social media, less busyness, less fake relaxation, less of my own frantic measuring to see how well I’m making space. Making space also means more God, more genuine listening to Caleb, more Saturday morning coffee chats, more spontaneous ice cream runs, more reflection, more runs for the scenery than for the miles, and more of the me I’m not as comfortable with. Making space requires I step down from that driver’s seat, even when I get scared and want to take control again. Making space means choosing to say no to Hustle, no matter how sparkly it looks.

I know so much of the strong, reliable, brave Olivia. I’m so excited to embark on the journey to find the rest of her- the gentle, patient, loving one.

I’d bet you money I’ll mess up, get discouraged, and try to regain control, but here’s to a season all about Navigating Grace. It’s for navigating with trust the grace presented to us in Ephesians 3:19: “and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Put on some slippers, fill up your mug, and start to care for your anxious heart. I hope you’ll make some space with me for the journey ahead.


6 thoughts on “Making Space and Navigating Grace

  1. I was on she reads truth this morning where I saw your comment and decided to follow your link. A lot of what you said hit home for me because I’m wanting to let go and get out of my own way so God can do his thing for me in my life. I have been so stressed and so anxious it’s ridiculous. I try to relax, I try to read, I try to pray and it all feels like I’m grasp at straws. I want to align myself with his will for me that’s what I’ve been telling myself lately but a thiught struck me this morning what if he isn’t ready for me yet yes it’s what I want. How do I align myself with his will for me, how do I let go of stress, anxiety, fear and all the whirlwind emotions I go through. So much to think about. Thanks for your post



    1. Akua, thanks so much for your time and thoughtful, transparent reflections! I can’t tell how how much I relate with feeling like grasping at straws, and I get how it can be so disheartening. I too am trying to remember that it’s more about allowing the love of God that’s already there to enter into my life, rather than trying to to “fix it” myself by more prayer or more quiet time, and it’s so challenging! He’s totally ready for you, and you’re totally ready too. I hope this new season of life is full of growth for you!


  2. Olivia, such beautiful words you have written here. I LOVE your response to this worldly expectation to Hustle…time to slap the word Grace in glitter everywhere! I found your link on SRT…accountability? I’m in!


    1. Jo, thank you for your time and kind, joyful encouragement! I’m so down for glittery grace. Now THAT is a t-shirt I’d be more interested in! Here’s to a new season of change, growth, challenge, and (yay!) accountability.


  3. I really enjoyed this post. It sure hits home with me. I just want to slow down but everything and everyone seems to be pulling at me to do more.


    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I so understand feeling like everything is pulling you in a different direction, and it’s so hard to find time to step back and take a breath. I hope you find a little bit of peace today!


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