THERE IS A CORNER IN MY READING ROOM where I store my issues, the things I often try to hide from God and others.
If I find that I’m craving esteem or recognition in an unhealthy way, and if, in that craving, my ego has started maniacally planning all the ways I can get it, I’ll stop and say, “Oh hey! There’s that issue again. I know this one well. This is the part of me that loves approval and power. It doesn’t belong here in my head or in my heart or even in my hands. It fits better over here, in my corner.”
Then I will physically walk over to the reading-room corner and imagine myself placing that particular issue there for safekeeping.
Let’s say I’m tempted to spend more money than I have because there’s some new product that promises to make me feel momentarily happy and light. That’s when I go, “Oof! There it is again, my old pal materialism. This is the part of me that doesn’t trust God to fulfill me or provide for me. This is the hungry part that wants and wants and wants. It belongs right here, in the reading-room corner.”
When I catch myself fantasizing about running away from my responsibilities because they feel like too much? “Ugh! There’s that issue again, the one where I feel unseen and overwhelmed. Yikes. It keeps trying to get close to me, but it actually fits perfectly in the corner. I’m going to gently place it there again.”
Mind you, the reading-room corner is not a time-out corner; it’s not a dunce- cap corner. It’s not a place to punish my issues or hide them. The reading-room corner is where God and I have agreed that I will surrender my struggles to him, where I will be as vulnerable as I can with him, so that he can take care of my issues, so that I don’t keep managing and pretending.
Sometimes, ceremoniously, I’ll even add a sentiment of gratitude when placing my issue down, “Thank you, God, for this issue, because it keeps me returning to you. It reminds me that you are God and I am not, and I desperately need you to transform me.”
I used to approach my issues with derision, with a kind of Aubrey, you know better than this, you dummy! Why are you struggling with this again? energy. But I’ve discovered it’s much more advantageous to move toward my issues the same way I’d approach a child lost at the grocery store. “Can I help you, hon?” I ask, gently, “Is there some better place you need to be? Let’s find the one who takes care of you. Let me take you there.”
And if I am delicate, carefully offering my hand to my issues, I find that they see me as an ally and will walk with me, amiably, to their proper place in the reading-room corner.
Unveiled I actually do this, again and again and again, because I believe a somewhat fantastical notion that this corner of my home is a holy space, that spiritual transformation occurs here, and that something supernatural takes place inside of me when I name things rightly and relinquish them to God.
I even believe that a little eternal flame, a burning bush, blazes there in my reading-room corner, ever welcoming and warm, ever ready for my soul’s surrender.
Taken from Known: How Believing Who God Says You Are Changes Everything by Aubrey Sampson. Copyright © 2021. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Aubrey Sampson serves as pastor of discipleship and equipping and is a part of the preaching team at Renewal Church in West Chicago, which she co-planted with her husband, Kevin. Aubrey writes regularly for Christine Caine’s Propel Women and has contributed to Proverbs 31, Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience, Christianity Today, and more. She speaks at churches and events around the country. Aubrey is earning her master’s degree in Evangelism and Leadership at Wheaton College and serves on Lausanne North America’s “Women in Church Leadership” strategic think tank. Deeply passionate about helping hurting Christians find healing so that they can fully embrace their God-given identities and purposes, she has authored three books, Known, The Louder Song, and Overcomer.