Having a Bad Day? You Are Not Alone.

Despite our best efforts to keep our lives on a steady track, like a carousel, life is typically more like a roller coaster. We have our ups—things are great, life is good, we’re on top of the world. And then we have our downs—those trying times when it seems that everything that can go wrong does.

Personally, I am only on a small slope right now as I experience a little uncertainty about my income in the upcoming months and continue to deal with the on-again/off-again issues of carpal tunnel and fibromyalgia. However, among my family and friends, there are several people experiencing more traumatic issues like the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, multiple surgeries, major medication and rehabilitation, long-distance moves, and various other shake-ups.

Today, whether you are experiencing a steady decline or you feel like you are descending at a rapid rate, remember: looking back does not change the course; every down is followed by an up; and finally, whatever you are going through, you are not alone.

Roy Lessin image

Virginia Knowles, who writes about motherhood on her blog (This Mom Grows Up!) posted this today: “When Life Is Not a Bowl of Cherries”

“So much we go through, the good and bad mixed together. It stretches our faith. It teaches us life lessons. It connects us to those who want to help us. It draws on our capacity to love others. It shows us where we need to put forth more effort.”

Another blogger I follow, Susie Middleton (at SixBurnerSue.com), shares some of the crazy downs experienced in farm life:

“It’s … easy, this time of year, to look around a farm and get discouraged. Weeds are ravenous, pests are ravenous, farm stand customers are ravenous. (And our egg supply isn’t keeping up with demand.). The pretty green frilly stuff of spring has fled, replaced by dying pea vines and bolted lettuce and plants ravaged by potato beetles.

But wait. That’s only one way to look at it.”

She goes on to comment on the cheerful sunflowers and zinnias, the bountiful tomato harvest, and the fresh black raspberries now ripe for making homemade berry ice cream.

Copyright © 2014 Susie Middleton

Copyright © 2014 Susie Middleton

Sometimes, how you look at your surroundings and what you choose to see is more important than what appears at first to be the overwhelming “reality.” Changing your focus is not always easy to do, especially if you are experiencing financial difficulties or overwhelming grief, but you can often find the silver lining in many situations if you try and/or if you give it time. (Of course, there are some things that we will never understand or see the good in … at least not during our earthly lives. For those things, we simply have to trust in God and His plan.)

JoAnn Potter, shares some really good thoughts on bad things in her blog post, “God Never Says ‘Oops'”:

“Whenever something bad happens to me, my first reaction is to think that I don’t belong in my situation. Surely, there’s been some kind of mistake.

My son shouldn’t be sick. I shouldn’t have constant conflict with my boss. I’m not supposed to have broken my mother’s prized china. My husband wasn’t supposed to be downsized out of a job. Our car shouldn’t have broken down. …

Regardless of what I want to believe about my situation, I am in it for one of only two reasons: Either God has willed it, or He has allowed it.

If I do not admit this, then God becomes subservient to my will, to the devil, to chance, or to something else. And He can’t. If He does, He is not God. …

God is not selectively perfect. He is not selectively knowing. He is not selectively loving. God is these things all the time.

He does not make me do stuff, but He does work all things together for good. He can turn my bad decisions, eventually, into good. He can turn evil inside out. He does it all the time.”

PEACE - I Have Overcome the World

Whatever you are going through, I pray that your burden will be eased; that you will receive encouragement through your connection to God, friends, and family; that you will find relief from your pain and comfort for your sorrow; that you will discover the desires of your heart and the path that will get you there; and that you will find rest, peace, and renewal at the end of the “ride.”

Dr. Charles Stanley says, “Perhaps the hardest part of receiving the desires of our heart is waiting for them to materialize. Yet God’s Word insists that we rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. This means relying on Him to work out circumstances even when achieving our desire seems impossible.”

 “Now then, stand still and see this great thing
the Lord is about to do…”
1 Samuel 12:4

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.”
Jeremiah 17:7

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Stop Worrying

Day 12: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

I seem to have come down with a summer cold. So, even though Bonnie Gray posted her Day 12 (21 Days of Rest Blog Tour) post yesterday, I’m getting my related one out today. I’m keeping it short though, as I really do need my rest in order to feel better faster.

Bonnie shares in her post that we all pay the price when we put ourselves last … “we somehow feel like if we choose to take care of ourselves, we are rejecting God and our usefulness to Him.” Maybe, we’re also a little afraid to face what we may uncover in the quiet.

Afraid to Face the Truth

But when we make space for quiet and rest, we give ourselves the gift of rediscovering our dreams and bringing them with us on our journey to wholeness.

“We need spiritual whitespace to feed our dreams. …

Sometimes, it’s easy to give yourself away,
when you no longer carry any hope for the dreams you once held.

Sometimes it takes more faith to revisit dreams
that have stalled than asking for faith to forget about them.”

Give Yourself Permission

Uncover your story.
Take the journey of rest in Bonnie’s memoir-driven guidebook:
Finding Spiritual Whitespace.”

This book is for you.

findingspiritualwhitespace_book-194x300

Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 11: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

On Day 11 of Bonnie Gray’s 21 Days of Rest Blog Tour, she talks with author and fellow blogger Kathi Lipp about Finding Rest in a World of “Go.” If you’d like to listen in to their conversation, there is a podcast (and more information) available on both Bonnie’s and Kathi’s blogs. I am attempting to add it here as well. Let me know if it works as I’ve never done that before. 🙂

Click Here for podcast.

My favorite part of their conversation was when Bonnie explained how her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening the Soul to Rest, was not about physical rest or the logistics we need to work out to arrange time for rest or space; it’s about nurturing our souls.

What would happen if we allowed ourselves a moment of solitude … to pause … to breathe.

We Are God's Artwork

Function, productivity, purpose, goals … these things shouldn’t come first in our lives. We do. … You do.

We all long for rest. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. How this looks is different for each of us depending on our circumstances and our season in life. You may not be able to seek it every day or even every week. But give yourself permission and time to find your moments and determine what speaks most clearly and dearly to your heart.

Value Our Hearts

Remember, even Jesus withdrew from the crowds for rest. He would want the same thing for us.

I pray that you will begin to discover your own spiritual whitespace to recharge, refresh, and restore your soul.
(I’m still working on it myself.)

Come to Me

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

 

Day 7: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

“Sometimes solitude is the only place you can
go to feel safe enough to fall apart.”
Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest,
by Bonnie Gray

There is a big difference between being lonely and enjoying solitude. I work from home, so I spend a lot of time by myself. And I’m okay with that (most of the time). But I do recall many times in my past when I felt all aloneeven when surrounded by other people. I think this often occurs when we are suffering silently with an issue that we don’t feel we can share with others. Maybe it’s too painful or perhaps when we compare our problems to those of others, they seem so unworthy or insignificant. Especially for those of us who are nurturers, we tend to push our own problems aside or shove them down so deep that we “erase” them. Sometimes they stay down or hidden, and we never actually deal with past emotional traumas. Other times, they force their way to the surface when we least expect it.

That’s what happened to Bonnie Gray, the FaithBarista.com blogger and newly published author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace. In Bonnie’s Day 7 blog tour post (part of her book launch) she writes a letter to her lonely seven-year-old self (whom she “re-encountered” with the help of a therapist while experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). I love these words from her letter:

There is someone who collects every drop of your
tears who sits by you at bedside every night. He
knows you find it hard to sleep and it breaks his
heart you cannot feel the touch of his hand on yours.

That someone is Jesus.

And He isn’t going to let these hard years, these
hard moments pass by unnoticed. Unspoken.
Unacknowledged.

It will be painful when you finally realize just how
loved you are, because in order to be found, you
will have to realize you have been lost.

It’s okay. Because this is how you will know that
you are known.
This someone named Jesus will take all your broken pieces.

And He will make something new and beautiful.

Solitude

Sometimes we need a special kind of solitude or spiritual whitespace to walk with God and have a real soul conversation with Jesus.

In her book and on her blog post, Bonnie suggests that we write a letter to our younger selves as part of a self-discovery and healing processWhat would we say to her, knowing what we know now? Another one of Bonnie’s readers, Laura, posted a very beautiful and touching letter to her six-year-old self that serves as a strong reminder of the power that parents, or other loved ones, can have over building up or tearing down children. If you know the childhood rhyme: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” I’m sure you recognize it as a falsehood. Because words are powerful things. And they can hurt. So remember to speak them with care over your children … or to anyone, really.

If you are still carrying around old wounds and battle scars from your past, take time to acknowledge that inner child—who she was, what she experienced, and how she felt. You’ll find Bonnie’s book to be a very helpful resource during this process. Even though her own story unfolds throughout the book, each chapter provides journaling prompts, so you can figure out what may be keeping you from spiritual rest and work on exploring, embracing, and enhancing your own story.

Letting Go

“When we think about spending time with God, we often beat ourselves up for not spending enough time. The guilt kills intimacy of the heart. Whitespace doesn’t keep track of the amount of time. Time doesn’t exist in whitespace. Spiritual whitespace takes place in the eternity of our hearts.”

Remember, God’s presence in our lives and in our hearts is what’s important.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done
from beginning to end.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

Bonnie reading from her book in California at a book launch party (photo by Janine Crum)

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 6: 21 Days of Rest

I have been reading a book about rest for the past month, and even though a lighter work schedule has given me time away from my desk, the “doer” in me has continued to find a way to fill up my schedule. I have been making promises and setting up self-imposed deadlines for projects that really don’t need to be completed by a specific date/time. So, I was delighted to read Bonnie Gray’s post this morning “The Clock Is Not My Shepherd,” where she shared her decision to change her 21 Days of Rest blog tour. She says,

“I am so excited to continue sharing 21 Days of Rest and Whitespace Challenges.

But, these will not be consecutive 21 Days.

These will be 21 Days written with the rhythm of rest. I will write to you out of a heart fully alive, engaged.

Because Faith Barista is about making a quiet space for you and me, I want to always return to my own heart to live and write from a journey of rest myself.”

Rest


Read more about and/or purchase the book here.So, in keeping with the spirit and intention of the book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest, and the Faith Barista’s words, I will also be giving the perfectionist in me permission to move away from self-imposed deadlines and toward living a journey of rest. I will add blog tour posts as they coincide with Bonnie’s posts so that others may continue to enjoy her words and my photography. And I may write other posts on various days of the month, but quite likely, there will be days with no posts at all. The rhythm of my life, slowing down to allow me to breathe, will set the pace.

Meanwhile, here is my Day 6 blog tour contribution, containing my photo and Bonnie’s words. Feel free to share it.

Acceptance and Rest

Also, check out this rewrite of Psalm 23, “The Clock Is My Dictator” by Marcia Hornok, which appeared on the Faith Barista’s Day 6 blog. This was the first time I had seen it, although it has been around for years. I think many of you will relate to it. I know I did.

The clock is my dictator

I shall not rest.

It makes me lie down
only when exhausted.

It leads me to deep depression.
It hounds my soul.

It leads me in circles of frenzy
for activity’s sake.

Even though I run
frantically from task to task,
I will never get it all done.

For my “ideal” is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval,
they drive me.

They demand performance from me
beyond the limits of my schedule.

They anoint my head with migraines.
My in-basket overflows.

Surely fatigue and time pressure
shall follow me all the days of my life.

by Marcia Hornok
(1990, In Discipleship Journal)

Let’s give up the quest to reach the end of the “to do” list, and accept that it will never happen. Instead, think about maintaining a more realistic schedule and reaching for physical and spiritual rest along the way. If you’d like to participate in this faith journey that I’m on and connect with the Whitespace Community, click here.

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 5: 21 Days of Rest

Whispers, etched in pain but spoken with truth, hope, and encouragement …

Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, offers these things to readers of her book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. Follow Bonnie on a journey of the soul through the broken places of your past (painful memories you may have buried or tried to erase) to spiritual whitespace, where we can rest together with Jesus.

“Jesus wants us to know there is no place we can find ourselves where his presence cannot reach us.”

Join me this June as I post some of my own photos enhanced by some of my favorite quotes from this thought-provoking, heart-touching book. (Feel free to Pin or share my images.)

Finding Your Whitespace

 You’ll find Bonnie’s Day 5 blog post here.

“Am I the beloved?

This is a complicated question for my heart.

But what good is truth if I am not living it, experiencing it in my story?

Jesus didn’t love us simply with his mind far away in heaven.

Jesus became rest for us. As a person. Not as some idea or concept.

Spiritual whitespace is not an ideal concept of rest.  Spiritual whitespace is making space to engage our heart with a Person.  Jesus.”

 

Somewhere along the way, we stopped valuing the idea of rest. We lost sight of the fact that it’s a critical part of creativity … our health and … our faith. … If you’re tired of being tired, read this book. … If you feel too busy to read this book, then that’s probably the best sign of all that you need it.” Jon Acuff, NYT bestselling author of Stuff Christians Like  (From the foreword for Finding Spiritual Whitespace)

 findingspiritualwhitespace_book-194x300

Take this journey with me and find your own rest using this beautifully written guidebook: Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. Click on the link (the title of the book or the image above) to order.

Join the 21 Days of Rest blog tour by sharing stories and photos of your own  moments — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest — using the hashtag: #spiritualwhitespace

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 4: 21 Days of Rest

Join me on a journey this June to seek rest. I will be posting some of my own photos enhanced by some of my favorite quotes from Bonnie Gray’s book — Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. I hope you enjoy them. (Feel free to Pin or share my images.) #spiritualwhitespace

Created for Beauty

 

You’ll find Bonnie’s Day 4 blog post here. “I want to make room in my life to be His canvas, that He can fill with beautiful, mysterious things that reflect the unique me He designed. …

God as artist lavishes time on his most beautiful creations in nature.

How can you and I be any less?

God made our hearts hungry.  For beauty. Dreams. Intimacy with Him. Friendships. Quiet. Rest.

God made our souls long for all these things — that take time.

We are not projects for God. We are poeima of God.

We need spiritual whitespace.

 

Check out these TWO special book launch giveaways! — GIVEAWAY #1:  {35 Winners} Times of Refreshing Journal from DaySpring and GIVEAWAY #2: {15 Winners} A Gold Connected Hearts Necklace by Lisa Leonard PLUS Times of Refreshing Journal Gift Set Giveaway from DaySpring. You must enter by Friday (6/6) so go check it out.

Take this journey with me and find your own rest using this beautifully written guidebook: Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest, which released yesterday! Click on the link (the title of the book or the image below) to order.

 

findingspiritualwhitespace_book-194x300

 

Join the 21 Days of Rest blog tour by sharing photos of your own  moments — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest — using the hashtag: #spiritualwhitespace

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace