The Uncomfortable Gift of Elbow Room by Amy Carroll

The Uncomfortable Gift of Elbow Room by Amy Carroll

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“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19 (NIV)

Like a door slamming behind me, the long, happy season of life ended abruptly. I suddenly found myself in new territory. At first, the space around me felt hollow and echo-y and bare.

I was scared because the place I had occupied for so long was familiar and safe. It was a place where I knew the rules and benefitted from support, so moving into a new space was filled with the dread of the unknown.

I was hurt because the shift felt like a rejection. Mouths that were once filled with a “yes” now spoke “no.”

Change can be terrifying, right?

But strangely, I was excited too. Even though I felt like a baby bird pushed out of the nest, facing empty space was my opportunity to fly. I was uncertain, but the air around me was fresh and clear.

I needed to head into the new season with a fresh perspective. Psalm 18:19 provided the perfect words to express a positive shift. “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Examining the parts of this divine piece of poetry helped me see things in a different light.

“He brought me out …”

I’m not completely change-resistant, but I’m definitely change-reluctant. Most of us prefer stability to change, yet God grants us all “bringing out” stages of life.

There’s the career woman who’s brought out of the workplace to stay at home, and the stay-at-home mom who returns to work.

The college student who moves into the adulting life of paychecks and bills.

The woman who exchanges the title of “wife” for “widow.”

The mother who trades the dream of childbirth with the one of choosing to enfold another mother’s child.

The divorcee who creates a happy life that she didn’t choose.

Change is tough, but we can trust that God is in the midst of it. He alone has the power to bring us out.

“Into a spacious place …”

New places, titles and circumstances give us elbow room and leave space for growth no matter whether they’re chosen or given. The strangeness of the unknown is uncomfortable, but it’s room in which we can mature.

In my change, I wasn’t dependent on one network anymore (although we remained fast friends!), but I gained new connections that expanded my opportunities more than I ever imagined. I grieved a loss but also found joy in my spacious new location.

“He rescued me …”

If you’re like change-reluctant me, God has often given me a kind shove since He knows I may never jump! His nudge may feel like bruising at first, but I can always look back and see that it was a rescue. He saves us from stagnancy and immaturity by rescuing us from being stuck.

Change is hard because it always involves a loss, but our good God makes sure that there are gains that accompany our grief.

“Because He delighted in me.”

The shift I experienced was painful for a moment, but the benefits and joy I’ve experienced in my new, spacious place have exponentially exceeded the pain. Change created exciting opportunities, new connections and greater personal maturity.

God delights in me, and He delights in you too. His heart of love for us means we can trust that His changes in our lives will always be worked for our good. (See Romans 8:28.)

When change feels scary, I invite you into a perspective shift with me. Look at the new, increased space around you. It is elbow room filled with God’s love and provision. He’s there with you, moving with You into fresh territory.

Dear God, change is scary for me. Instead of defaulting to fear, help me adopt a new perspective. I want to embrace the extra room You’ve given me to grow. I want to watch for Your presence in unfamiliar places. I want to soak in new joys You give because You delight in me. Help me to trust You in seasons of change. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)


When you feel off-balance in the midst of change, life seems uncomfortable and less-than-perfect. In Amy Carroll’s book, Breaking Up with Perfect, she shares the lessons she’s learned about trusting God with an imperfect life.

How often do excuses keep you from pursuing your dream to write? We let busy calendars, tired eyes and even fear get in the way of our goals. With COMPEL, an online membership site designed with writers like you in mind, you’ll have access to all the tools you need to make the words and thoughts in your head come to life. Our brand-new website makes it easier than ever. Click here to learn more!


Visit Amy’s blog today for more tips on trusting God in the midst of change.


How do you respond to change? Is it easy or difficult for you?

How would it change your current season of change to see it as a spacious place or a rescue instead of scary, unknown territory?

© 2018 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105