The Narrow Door
What if the narrow door is not so much about WHO gets in or out but WHAT we let go of as we enter? Scripture paints a picture of holy space as being pure and safe and complete in love. Light is present and darkness has vanished; it is no more. Who doesn’t want to be in that space?
The “narrow door” Scripture reminds me of an experience with a group of students. We were on a youth overnight retreat, spending the night in a cave and exploring the next day. The place we slept was big and cavernous. Moisture dripped from the roof of the cave during the night. Sleep was fleeting and dreaming scarce. The tangible presence of excitement and fear set up with us as we settled in for the night. The next morning we embarked on our exploring. Moving through dark wide-open spaces and shining our flashlights to see the wonder of all that resides under the ground, we were mesmerized! Then we came upon some tunnels. And then we came upon a tiny, narrow passage – one we all had to move through.
Our guide let us know from the start: “you can get through this narrow place”. We weren’t all sure about that but we began – one by one – to attempt the passage. The smallest ones among us slipped through without much effort at all. Some of them were gymnasts whose bodies were already trained for challenging feats. Others were just small and limber; the fearless ones bounded to the front of the line.
As we waited for each one to pass through the tension grew. The bodies were bigger. Those with anxiety of tight spaces lingered toward the back of the line. I began to pray for each one, knowing we might be here a while. The last few students who entered this narrow passage had to let go of a LOT to pass through. We were all speaking words of encouragement and hope. We were praying underneath our breath. We were doing everything we could, but it was each person’s body that had to keep squishing through that narrow place. There may have been some tears. We all made it.
Jesus said the gate is narrow…
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
– Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 7:13-14
I wonder if it is what we hold on to that makes finding our way through the narrow place so difficult? The less we carry, the freer we become. The more we let go of, the easier it is to embrace the faith that moves mountains. Letting go of resentment and bitterness and betrayal can feel like giving up – until you feel the freedom of not carrying that weight! Offering forgiveness so you can let go and move on is a powerful way to lessen your load. Shedding the lies of shame and guilt makes space in our spirits for hope and restoration. Releasing ourselves from the structures and relationships that shut us down rather than empowering us to fly is not easy. But stepping into that narrow place leads us to full life.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1
Is it time to let go and squish on through the narrow way? Yes, the road is hard, AND there sure is a lot of freedom on the other side of grace! Can you release your grip on one thing that is holding you back today?
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt