The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

When Spreading Your Wings Too Wide Leaves You Crippled

I’ve said “yes” to too many things this month. Good things. Noble things. Perhaps even God-things. But my “yes month” is draining me dry. I’m feeling edgy. Cranky. Apathetic. All I really want to do is just curl up at my Savior’s feet, quit being a Martha and embrace the Mary buried somewhere under all the commitments and deadlines. Quite simply, I’m living wide, but not deep. And I’m being painfully reminded of just how desperately I need those deep sips of Living Water. 

As I finish my sprint to November’s end, I’m re-committing myself to deeper living in December. I’m hoping that I won’t soon forget the way I’ve stumbled through this month. If I do, I’ll be prone to spread my wings far too wide once again and fly crippled once again.
 Long ago, as I strolled along a quiet walking trail in Palm Springs, I pondered my heart’s growing desire to raise children who lived deeply. Today, as I re-read my own words from those scribbled heart cries, I am reminded that if I want to raise children whose roots go down deep into the heart of Christ, I must model a life that bears witness to the same.
Would you join me today in looking back at one of my very first posts on this journey towards joy? Here are a few musings from 2009 that still capture the desire of my heart…
“When I was walking with Miss Maggie up and down the quiet streets of the neighboring golf course community this morning, I began to hum the song Deep and Wide. In simple tune, this church-camp favorite celebrates the “fountain of salvation” to which we have access as believers in Christ. The lyrics simply say Deep and wide; deep and wide; there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide… With the rugged brown mountain peaks silhouetting against the blue sky, I mused on the idea of living deep and wide. It seems to me that one of my greatest challenges as a mother in this generation is to somehow raise children who know how to live with both depth and width.

The width seems easier at this point. Our children are growing up in an era rampant with “opportunity.” Raising well-rounded and “successful” children has become the primary goal of many American families. We want our kids to experience life to the fullest, and we have countless avenues that lead to such an end. With good intentions, we design a family life that is bursting with WIDTH. We seek out schools that boost our youngsters’ achievement and churches that boost their character. We make the most of the varied opportunities that allow our children to “try new things.” We sign them up for music lessons, dance class, sports leagues and scouts. We long for our children to develop skills and talents that will “take them far” in life; perhaps secure their admittance into a great college, lead them to a satisfying career or pave the way for achievement when they leave our homes for good.

While “width” is not always an unworthy pursuit, a wide life can not stand without depth. For without deep roots, even a broad and beautiful tree will cease to bloom; worse yet, when the storm comes, even a mighty tree will topple without roots that run DEEP into the soil below.

And so here in Palm Springs, as I step away from the wide and crazy life I lead on a daily basis, I am plagued by this question: “Am I teaching my children to live DEEP or to merely live WIDE?”

Wide living seems to happen quickly- we just move from one opportunity to another, from one season to the next, but deep living is cultivated at a different pace. Growing roots takes time. And time is at a premium these days. I’m beginning to believe that DEEP living simply cannot happen by default; it must be developed deliberately.

Christ’s life was a beautiful picture of both width and depth. His days were full but not frantic; deliberate but not draining. He engaged in much- healing the hurting, preaching to the masses, standing for justice, challenging the political and religious systems of his day, and feeding the hungry. He reached WIDE and ministered to many.

Yet, our Savior lived DEEP as well. He rose early to spend quiet time with His Heavenly Father, He fled the crowds in order to refresh his weary soul, and though he had come to save the whole world, he chose a mere twelve men in whom to invest his time and energy. While He was well aware of all the “opportunities” within his reach, Jesus did not seize every one. He did not heal every person who was sick, nor challenge every person who was wrong, nor encourage every person who was downcast, nor visit every town that He passed.

In the words of Ann Kroeker, author of the book Not So Fast, “Jesus never seemed to be in a hurry. When I look through the Gospels, I see that He was attentive to people’s needs and deliberate about His actions. He was responsive and busy, but not frantic. He was occupied, but not frazzled…Jesus’ actions seemed to flow from His purposeful and decisive heart, a heart that was focused on and yielded to the Father’s will…” (p 105).

If I want my kids to be like Christ, I cannot raise them to be merely WIDE, but I must teach them to be DEEP as well. How else will they develop a “heart focused on and yielded to the Father’s will”? If my true goal as a Christ-following parent is to send Christ-following children into His world, then I must make choices NOW that will enable them to stick to God’s path later. As the one in charge of our home schedule, I need to ensure that we have some white spaces on the calendar; time to engage with one another, with the Lord, and with His world. We need gaps in our “going” so that we can share conversations that move beyond “How are you?” or “What time do I have to pick you up after practice?” We need some margin in our lives so that we can bring supper to a sick friend or visit a hurting neighbor in the hospital. Basically, we need some unplanned time so that God can insert His plans into our day. If my day is already bursting at the seams, how will I respond to God’s quiet nudges without being late to the next scheduled event or maxed beyond measure?
As I mused this morning on a deep life, I kept picturing God’s word as the soil that will enable my precious saplings to grow strong and confident. In the words of Jeremiah 17:7-8: Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.

Oh, that my children would live like that- deeply rooted in the Word of God and spreading His fruit to the whole WIDE world! Deep and Wide. Wide and Deep.

The Overflow: “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how WIDE, how long, and how DEEP his love is.”- Ephesians 3: 14-18

2 thoughts on “When Spreading Your Wings Too Wide Leaves You Crippled


    November 15, 2011 at 3:14 am
  2. You DO have deep kids, my friend. I can’t wait to see how they bloom and grow. trees by living water 🙂

    November 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm

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