Do you Need Space and Time to Heal?

Do you Need Space and Time to Heal?

We want change, and we want it now, but deep change requires the granting of space and time. So grant it to our self and others.  

It was all becoming too much. Pressure from others to ‘get over it,’ to ‘let it go,’ and ‘sort your life out’ was beginning to cause them to feel less than capable, dumb, and stupid. That everyone else had their lives together but not them. They felt different and very, very alone.

In talking with many people, there often comes a time in the journey to wellness when they can feel immense pressure to change. They aren’t moving along as fast as others or want to. They want change. Quick change.

I remember someone expressing a lot of impatience that this journey to wellness was taking too long. Their family was putting pressure on them. But then we talked about the progress that had been made. The millimeters of deeply significant changes and how we were building something new and that good things take time.

Are you in need of some space and time?

Do you need to give others space and time?

Giving a Basket of Fruit

He always took Bananas.grant time and space fruit of the spirit

I once knew a pastor who, whenever he visited his church members in their homes, always took bananas.

When I was a pastor visiting people in hospital, I would often take them a gift of fruit or flowers.  It was a gift that I had taken the time to consider them and their needs. They would always feel somewhat special as I gave over the grapes or presented some lovely flowers.

By the way, do Pastors still regularly visit people in their homes? As a pastor, I discovered a lot about the people I served and their pastoral needs when I stepped through their door and into their safe space.

A basket of fruit is a beautiful gift, and we need to give it to each other.

Paul talks about the Fruit of the Spirit. This fruit takes time to come to the point of ripeness and maturity.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:4,5

I think the first three fruits of love, joy, and peace are more about the internal wellness of a person.

The other fruit – patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – have more of a relational taste to them. 

Patience to others and myself. Being kind to others and myself. A sense of generosity to others and myself. Being faithful to others and myself. Giving gentleness to others and myself and controlling the self to be of service to others and myself.

The bruised reed, the smoldering wick

There is a beautiful verse in Isaiah that talks about the pastoral gift of tenderness and the granting of time and space that Jesus, the Christ, brings to us.

A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. Isaiah 42:3

There have been times when the strength I was relying on to hold me up was battered and bruised by the storms of life. That candle wick that had once burned bright and clear was but barely glowing.

I needed, at those moments, people to support my bruised soul and blow gently the love of the Christ over my weakness. I didn’t need any pressure to perform and messages of ‘get over it.’

How to Grant Space and Time

  1. Give them to the one who holds all space and time.
    There is a sweetness in surrendering someone over into the hands of a God who knows everything.  God is dedicated to bringing all the strands of our mixed-up lives into something beautiful. God has space and time within their hands and knows the perfect way to bring healing.
    Granting space and time means surrendering our demands to Gods delight.
  2. Get a bigger vision
    There is a bigger, much larger story going on here. Something beautiful can emerge out of the soil of brokenness. We often look at the immediate pain and problems and focus on that, but we can hope for something beyond. A compelling vision of not just having the immediate problems being solved but of a deeper and richer life with God as the visionary outcome.
    Granting space and time means being open to the possibility of something truly magnificent emerging.
  3. Look for the small steps.
    It’s the smallest of millimeters taken along a path of change that truly add up. We celebrate the small changes and soak in them. Others may consider them insignificant, but they truly add up.
    Granting space and time focuses on the little steps and celebrates everyone.
  4. Explore the demands
    Why is there a demand on you to change? Do others feel uncomfortable with you and therefore demand you do the work? Remember, their response to you is their responsibility.
    Granting space and time is a gift of freedom. No strings attached. Your pace your time.
  5. Feed the tree.
    Fruit trees need feeding if they are going to grow an abundant harvest. The ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ are precisely that. Fruit that has come from a fed and watered tree of Spirit-led living.
    We need to care and nurture our relationship with God so the result will be a harvest of fruit always coming and ready for others to enjoy.
    Granting space and time is an invitation to sit under a fruit tree and enjoy the sweet refreshment of its produce.

Let the demand go

Are you trying to change someone? Of course, you are! We all want others to change into someone we are more comfortable with. Someone who will meet our needs in our way.

We genuinely are curved in on ourselves.

Your pressure, spoken or unspoken, might break what is already bruised and snuff out what is smoldering.

Please grant them some space and some time. Their story is their story. They are uniquely and wonderfully made and being made. The result may not be what you wanted. A different person may emerge.

It’s hands-off and hands together (prayer).

Quotes to consider

  • Letting go is not in anybody’s program for happiness, and yet all mature spirituality, in one sense or another, is about letting go and unlearning. You can take that as an absolute. As German mystic-philosopher Meister Eckhart said, the spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition. Richard Rohr. Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps
  • Fruit is always something full of wonder, something that has grown organically. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of which God is the sole source. Those bearing this fruit are as unaware of it as a tree is of its fruit.  The only thing they are aware of is the power of the one from whom they receive their life. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • When one partner in a co-dependent relationship embarks on a journey of personal growth, the other person is forced to make some choices. David Riddell
  • Opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit, thoughts, fears, future, hopes, dreams… that is being naked.  Rob Bell
  • We’ll never abandon ourselves to the Spirit as long as we think we can change without Him. Larry Crabb, The Pressure’s Off: There’s a New Way to Live
  • Until and unless there is a person, situation, event, idea, conflict, or relationship that you cannot “manage,” you will never find the True Manager. Richard Rohr. Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps
  • It is so difficult to admit to ourselves and others that we can’t control everything. Only when we name the ways we are powerless do we create space for God to step in. Richard Rohr
  • Letting people have their trip means that you step out of territory that isn’t yours to stand in, and it never was. They didn’t belong to you in the first place. Rob Bell – Let them have their trip.
  • You can’t take people where they don’t want to go. Kristen Bell

Questions to consider

  1. Why is it difficult to grant space and time to others or even ourselves?
  2. Who do you need to grant some space and time to?
  3. Have you ever experienced pressure from someone to change? What was your emotional response?

Further reading

A Change In Behavior, A Change In the Mind

Let the Gardener do the Work. The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

When You See Into Their Mist – Who They Are Becoming

Rob Bell Let them have their trip
Rob Bell Let them have their trip

Photo by Nati Melnychuk on Unsplash

Photo by Rob Wicks on Unsplash

Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

Barry Pearman

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