Stop making God small to try and tame Him.

I kicked off 2019 by joining the Propel Women’s chapter at My Half of the Sky, a local social justice coffee shop based in Wheaton, IL. Here I am exactly a year later, but this time on the leadership team. It’s absolutely incredible being able to plan chapter meetings and create an environment where we can invite other women to deepen their relationship with the Lord and provide encouragement and tools to strengthen the other relationships they’re in. It’s amazing to see not only a space transformed before my eyes, but other women. For the short amount of time I’ve been on the leadership team, I’ve learned a lot about the Lord and myself. My faith has grown in ways I couldn’t imagine.

My Half of the Sky Coffee Shop near Naperville and Wheaton, IL

the cave mindset

This month’s speaker, Renee Pollino (also the founder of My Half of the Sky) began by admitting something that has evolved in her life- she now “actually” likes movies! When her kids were younger Renee never let her kids “sit in front of the TV unless it was the 10 Commandments movie or a Spanish video” because she didn’t want them picking up on the negative aspects. She realized this may not be needed- after all, she loves stories. When reading her favorite authors who lean more philosophical always reference “movies and music to point people to God- because after all, God is a God of stories”. Renee decided to start watching movies for two reasons:

  1. The love of a story

    Renee believes “we are drawn to stories because stories help us dream and envision a better world”. “We “long for beauty- long for a better world because God put eternity in our hearts”.

  2. Cultural Understanding

    As a Christ follower, mother, wife, friend, business owner, advocate, and speaker she wants to understand the culture and relationships around her. Since she’s “supposed to reach culture, [she] probably must understand them and the things they love”.

Movie: The room

When Renee was watching the movie “Room”, she felt the pull of culture. This movie is based on a true story surrounding a young woman who had been kidnapped and kept in a 12×12 shed for 5 years. During her captivity she had a baby with her abductor- a son who she loves, Jack. Out of her love for Jack, the young woman decided to raise him as normal as possible. She didn’t share with him that they were kidnapped and being help captive. She didn’t share about the world out there- the shed they were in was their world. Jack’s entire existence and perspective us from growing up in a 12×12 shed and seeing what he thought was all of reality from this space and the tiny window on the ceiling. Jack grew up thinking the shed was real life.

  • Jack things all that he sees is all that is true.

  • He thinks the world is the tiny room.

  • His reality and life was this cave-like existence.

Photo: My Half of the Sky

Photo: My Half of the Sky

Ask yourself:

  1. What cave-like perspectives do I have of life?

  2. What cave-like perspectives do I have of what is true?

  3. What cave-like perspectives do I have about god?

  4. Do I place God unknowingly in a tiny little room?

Think About It:

  • A small box is something comprehendible- fitting into a lens.

  • Lenses can be gender, race, religion, social class, etc.

Do we as a church make god small so that we can tame him?

The story of mary & martha:

At first glance the story of Mary and Martha details mixed up priorities. But, diving deeper this isn’t a story detailing Martha busy around the house and Mary choosing time in God’s presence. When we peel back another layer we see the radical thing Jesus is saying to leaders.


  • A dinner party is going on

  • Important religious male leaders from the community are in attendance.

Cross referencing this passage with John 12,
we learn how Jesus was breaking all the rules of society.

Continuing on with the story and the passages, we are made aware of Mary’s presence and shown how she calls Jesus “Rabbi”.

  • In Hebrew culture Rabbis choose students to be their disciples.

  • Chosen students spend everyday with their Rabbi learning from them.

  • Women are not selected as students- until Jesus selected Mary, breaking society’s “norm”.

Here we see Jesus breaking the traditions of society and welcoming a woman to learn from him and sit at his feet. He didn’t banish her away into the kitchen or push her aside to make room for the men- the important leaders at the table. He included a woman- he included Mary. Imagine the room’s response and their thoughts- the pharisees were like Jack in his room trying to tame God and fit him into their cave-like perspectives. They created rules and systems excluding and marginalizing their society.

Here’s the kicker…

Jesus not only welcomes her, but he honors Mary. He makes it known that “wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she had done will also be told in memory of her”.

4 Pillars jesus displays to women:

  1. Inclusion

  2. Noticing

  3. Elevating

  4. Honoring

Our traditions, ideas, and empty orthodixies and the “right way” form our cave-like life experiences that tame God. We need to break free of those and be aware of adapting to them. Jesus shows us- not telling us, what a true leader looks like.

Great leaders:

  • Get behind things that matter- leaders get behind people

Leave the cave Propel Women- to see the world and experience life out of the cave in order to see the true untamable God who cannot be defined or contained in our caves.

  • leaders get behind the marginalized

  • Leaders get behind what is true

Defining the Leader

What makes a leader? A leader is someone who can follow the three pillars above while hitting the following:

  • Staying plugged into the word

  • View the scripture as absolute

  • Remember the truth belongs to the Lord and not to man

  • Know that the only way to determine “right” is by consulting scripture

warning signs:

  • When we are stressed and overwhelmed perhaps our view of God needs to be shattered.

  • Recognize lies and combat them with truth.

Read: psalm 19

The commandments of the Lord are radiant. They give light to the eyes so we can become leaders that get behind what is true, right, pure, and lovely. We cannot know what is true, right, pure, and lovely without drenching our hearts and minds in the word of God.

Ultimately, leaders have to believe she has significance within God’s story. When God says something, she believes it. She believes it for herself AND for other women.

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