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The Broad Place and the Go-Go Practice

"I do not understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

Anne Lamott

There is a place I like to go where you can look out onto a broad open space. There are a few trees on the edge of the land but for the most part, it is just a large, open expanse. It does something to me when I am there - it gets inside of me and I open up too. Whatever is cluttering my mind begins to release. Whatever is heavy on my heart is unburdened.

Have you been to a broad place?

The beginning of a new year is like a broad, open space coming to us graciously. With it, we have an opportunity to begin again. We have an invitation to consider ourselves and our lives and our habits and our dreams anew. We can imagine what may be and what we would like things to be.

It’s not easy to stay in the broad place. Worry or anxiety may usher in doubt. The busyness or overwhelmingness of life may open the door to distraction. The demands and challenges of the reality of our circumstances may bring disorder or distress. If we are not careful, these Ds can begin to encroach on the broad space of peace and possibility.

We find this in the Bible as well. Abraham is doubting the possibilities of his life. He is getting on in years and has no heir. God takes Abraham outside to a broad place and says, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be.” And Abraham believed it. The broad place of God’s promises got inside of him.(Gen 15:5)

This same image of a broad place comes up in the Psalms. David knows the doubt, distraction, disorder and distress of life. He is often living with the threat of being surrounded or overcome by his enemies. In Psalm 18, David says, “[God] has brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me because he delighted in me.”  (v19, NRSV)

The image of a broad place comes again from Jesus. God so loves and delights in us, that he sent Jesus to be with us and deliver us. Jesus explains, “ I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness.” (Jn10:10b; GNT) Life with Jesus is like living in a broad place where we are free to know him and be known by him. The greatness of God cannot be contained. The multitudes of his goodness and blessing are as vast as the stars.

Something else that is important to be mindful of here is the fact that David was able to find himself in the broad place after he had come to the other side of his battles. John Stott*, a British priest talked about the importance of the Go-Go Principle. He said the Go-Go Principle means you need you go on going on. We land in the broad place as we go on going on by grace.

Grace is the power of God at work in our lives. Grace is God acting in our lives to accomplish what we can’t accomplish on our own.**  We go on trusting in God’s presence and promises, knowing and accepting that his grace comes to us anew each morning.

Grace is the broad place of life at its fullest. Grace can get inside us and open us up to a new way of living made possible by God.  Grace is the gift of life and possibility and the ability to Go-Go even when you’re not sure how.

Grace comes as a gift and it is something you can cultivate. We can grow in grace. We can grow more and more into the fullness of life. Jesus gives us the opportunity to become a new kind of person. Grace is found living in union with God. It’s found in the broad place of God’s goodness and love.

So wherever you find yourself, know there is more!

Keep going on.


*John Stott, 1921-2011, I met John Stott in 1998 at a conference held at my church. You can hear more about the “Go-Go Practice” in Everything Happens Podcast with Kate Bowler: Suspicious of Joy with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

** Dallas Willard explains grace this way.


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