Do you remember when right-sizing meant moving from a dorm room to a small one-bedroom apartment? Or from a small one-bedroom apartment to a three-bedroom house? Or even from the three-bedroom house to the five-bedroom house on the half acre lot?
Those were exciting times, weren’t they? In this ideal American narrative right-sizing meant allowing for the growth of family and increasing financial security? It’s just plain fun to imagine needing more room, a bigger house, and more yard for children to play and dogs to run around in.
Right-sizing can be a lot of fun when it is upsizing.
But, I would submit that right-sizing is a life-long process that equally includes upsizing and downsizing. In a typical life cycle our bodies grow, our energy increases, and we need more room to match our expanding horizons.
But, the reverse is also true. As we age, our worlds begin shrinking again. We have less energy. Our attention becomes more limited to the things and people closest to us. Eventually that five-bedroom home often feels more like a burden than a blessing. You began asking, “Do I really want to have to rake all those leaves. Wouldn’t I rather have more time to read, sing in the choir and play with grandchildren?”
Right sizing is important for our emotional, spiritual and physical health. Being physically cramped can stunt our growth and keep our souls from growing. And having too much room can leave us so burdened by physical responsibilities that spiritual expression can’t seem to find any traction.
We spend our personal lives right-sizing often expanding our living spaces and broadening our horizons during the first half of life and then contracting in the latter half of life as energy diminishes and our souls seek deepening more than broadening.
Right-sizing is important our whole lives long. It just happens to be that upsizing is a lot more fun than downsizing. But from a spiritual perspective they are equally important. Right-sizing is about honoring the seasons of life and God’s sacred rhythms. Right-sizing is about getting our external reality to mirror our internal reality.
But here is the really cool thing.
Upsizing is a process of making room for growth that we can see and expect. Downsizing is no different. Downsizing is also a process of making room for God to show up. Except that unlike upsizing where the evidence is often apparent, downsizing takes a bit more trust. God seems to wait until we have fully committed to the downsizing to show up. That’s sort of scary like falling backward with no guarantee that someone is going to catch you.
Does your church building represent the actual energy in your congregation? If not, do you need to upsize to make more room for the untapped energy? Or do you need to downsize to unburden yourself from physical responsibilities in order to make room for more spiritual expression.
God doesn’t care what size your building is. All God cares about is that your building is more of a blessing than a burden.
Next week read about a church that downsized and ended up upsizing their mission tenfold and a hundred fold.
Right-sizing is a way of making room for God.
By Rev. Brian Heron, Presbyter for Vision and Mission, Presbytery of the Cascades