A Broad Place
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let those who fear the Lord now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
I called on the Lord in distress;
The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
Psalm 118: 1, 4-5
The humble acceptance of myself as fallen but now justified by Another who is my righteousness is the basis on which I can accept myself, learn to laugh at myself, be patient with myself. And then, wonder of wonders, be enabled for at least part of the time to forget myself. “Humble yourselves — feeling very insignificant — in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. He will lift you up and make your lives significant” (James 4:10, The Amplified Bible). 
The new year brings a fresh sense of the broad place in which God sets each of His sons and daughters. The way to enter into freedom is on the solid ground of Christ’s righteousness. Because we are in Him, we dare to desire, try, and reach; we find full permission to be and do in Him, with joy! We are released from bent ways of seeking significance and liberated as unselfconscious channels of His mercy. The circumstances of this fallen world can be anything but broad and merciful, be we’re enabled to endure by grace. We entrust ourselves wholly to our Lord and delight in the inner and eternal freedom that He so mightily gives.
Gracious Father, Your mercy endures forever. You are good and we give You thanks. You, Lord Jesus Christ, are our strength and song. Give us grace to begin this year in the freedom of Your righteousness. Tune our ears to Your voice alone. Pour out Your Spirit, breathing life into our creative desires and giving us freedom to live in joyous response to Your goodness.
 Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1991), 51.
Painting: Jacques d’Arthois, 1650, Landscape with Shepherd, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.