13 August 2021

Have you ever felt a “bigness” inside of you, wanting to escape the confines of your rib-cage? Just the sheer size of the word can rattle a person.

I remember, growing up in Pretoria East, feeling like an imposter – we had no real financial wherewithal – although we never went without food – and our friends at school all appeared to come from homes where every dream was within reach and all needs were instantly met. The glaringly obvious material divide consumed my world in the most unpredictable ways. I was acutely aware of everyone else, almost as a mask, averting my attention away from my own mis-shapen self-image. I thought I didn’t “belong” in this part of the city – like a person pretending they had worth.

What I didn’t realise, then, was that this awkward context we were in was forging great wealth of character deep within me – preparing me to become who I needed to be – both content and motivated; relatable and wise. Mostly, though, it was helping me to be compassionate, understanding and resilient. It gave me the ability to truly ‘see’ people, to be an ally. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only “imposter” in the East – many people feel like they don’t fully buy into their current circumstances – human beings tend to have a lot in common!

Bigness. The potential and capacity to turn smallness on its head. The unavoidable instinct to crane to see over the confines of our circumstances to the open fields beyond, in the hopes of catching a glimmer of change on the horizon. The thing is, though, that this desperately necessary ‘change’ isn’t coming over the horizon, nor is it waiting to be discovered around a corner – it’s inside of us – we are born catalysts for change, if we’ll allow the conditions of our context to shape us into world-changers – people who allow themselves to be changed in order to bring change!

Having children (masking the smallness which claws at the walls of my heart) means calling them out of these very same confines in every interaction; resisting the adversary of my own soul at every turn in my thoughts, memories and scepticisms and, in so doing, allowing my chest to burst open with hope. This enduring hope brings a rising sun into each new morning in our home, making space for our children to grow in character themselves – overcoming their own adversaries, hopefully sooner than we did.

Memories of the past can become monuments where we take stock of how far we’ve come in believing and living in the love of our heavenly Father, instead of the smoke-and-mirrors of a material world; where the fires of courage are stoked once more and we take the hand of Jesus towards another horizon of hope; where the determination to overcome ever greater foes, for the sake of laying hold of the promised land, becomes instinctive.

Here’s to BIGNESS – in your life and mine – a Kingdom beckoning us to lay hold of it from inside of us. After all, who will take the ground assigned to me if I don’t?


by Chélene Salzwedel CC 2021

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