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.

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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)

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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.

 

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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

Day 3: 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 they bless you and speak to your heart and/or intrigue you to check out the book for yourself. (Feel free to Pin or share my images.)

God's Artwork

 

You’ll find Bonnie’s Day 3 blog post here. She explains a little bit on how her book came about during her own personal quest for soul rest, and she is celebrating her book launch by offering TWO 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.

God knows that many of us tend to overdo it and allow ourselves to become worn out, exhausted, and weary. He encourages us to seek rest, especially in our times of weakness:

“The Lord is the everlasting God …
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. …
those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

“The next time you feel too tired or frustrated to go on, remember this: Our God is not exhaustible. Instead, He is faithful to provide a supply of endless divine strength to those who are willing to wait for His perfect timing. In all things, He gives exactly what we need for the moment at hand.” Chuck Swindoll (inTouch.org)

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

 

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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

Day 2: 21 Days of Rest

Join me this month as I post some of my own photos enhanced by my favorite quotes from Bonnie Gray’s book – Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.

Reawaken Our Souls

You’ll find Bonnie’s Day 2 blog post here. “The truth is this: who you are–your heart–is more important to God than any thing you can (or cannot) do for Him. … When you choose a quiet moment over producing or performing, you step into a beautiful space of receiving all you want to give to those you love—beauty, joy, intimacy, laughter, presence.”

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place
and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31

 Take this journey with me and find your own rest using this beautifully written guidebook. Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest, which releases Tuesday, June 3rd.

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you,
and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

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Join in by sharing photos of your own  moments — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest — using the hashtag: #spiritualwhitespace

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Each Day Your Story Begins Anew

Imagine … We are, each one of us, the pen or the paint brush. And our lives, from this moment on, stretch out before us like a blank notebook or canvas.

We are like paint brushes.

Some may be afraid of all the “white space” before them … scared of making a mistake or simply uncertain of where or how to begin. They are hesitant to mar the surface that appears so perfect without their input. Yet others see the unblemished space before them as an opportunity to create the life they want, to begin anew.
What do you see when you look to the day ahead?

Some of the things you face each day might challenge your faith and your focus and affect the way you see the blank page/canvas before you; that’s why I think it’s important to begin and end each day with joy. I came across this book that some of you might be interested in. It is a daily devotional with thoughts from some best-selling women authors like Sheila Walsh, Beth Moore, and Lysa TerKeurst (click on the image of the book below to follow the link):

Joy for the Journey

 

Another wonderful author—Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista—had this to share about her own faith journey:

“I had to stop writing for anyone else.

Except me.

Don’t be afraid to write your story.

We each have one story to live.

It’s never too late.

To pick up your pen and begin a new chapter.

To find your voice.”

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The overview of her book listed on Barnes & Noble shares this: “Whitespace. It’s the space on a page left unmarked. Untouched. Whitespace makes art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest.
Just like beautiful art, our souls need balance and beauty.

… Bonnie guides you to discover a better story for yourself, one that feeds your soul and makes room for rest. Infused with biblical encouragement and thought-provoking prompts, this book shows us how to create space in the everyday for God, refreshment, and faith—right in the midst of our stress-frayed lives.”

We all need and desire rest. Finding your own personal, spiritual whitespace is an important part of achieving this. And when you find this space … this spiritual connection … and spend some time there, you will find that it’s not quite so difficult anymore to put the pen to paper or brush to canvas.

God's Canvas

No matter who you are, how old you are, or where you find yourself in life, it’s never too late to start fresh, to write a new story or paint a new picture … to share your whole self, your real self with the world.

I read this in yesterday’s DaySpring Devotion: “As we learn each other’s stories—where we come from, what burns in our hearts, our hurts, our successes, our dreams—we are then able to connect better, understand each other, build each other up, and together glorify our Father in Heaven.”

Maybe today won’t go exactly as you planned. (It never really does, does it?) So, you’ll have to cross out a few lines or paint over some mistakes. Don’t let the mishaps define you or your life; they’re just part of the ever-changing story that you and God, together, can continue to create and shape anew each day.

“For we are God’s masterpiece.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

 

God's Story

 

Whitespace Community Linkup @ faithbarista.com

It’s a New Day

Today is a joyful day in the life of Christians because we celebrate an event that forever changed our lives. Though the Cross seemed to signify “the end,” Christ’s Resurrection proclaims “a new beginning” for us all. It’s a new day!

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Unlike some people who make New Year’s resolutions, I find spring, in general, and Easter, specifically, to be a great time to think about making changes and starting something new. While nature shouts “new life,” we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the new life we have in him. New life in Christ should strengthen us and give us courage to step out in faith and do something different. Something meaningful, not to others necessarily, but to ourselves. It doesn’t even have to be anything huge or immediately life-changing. Do you feel the winds of change whispering to you? What are you being called to do?

Winds of Change

If you’ve been meaning to spend more time writing, then today—write something. If you’ve wanted to paint, or sculpt, or dance, or anything creative, get a canvas or some clay, or sign up for a class. Whatever it is, just start.

As Holley Gerth reminds us, “Creativity literally changes us. Scientists used to think after a certain age our brains were set. But being creative actually makes new neurological pathways in our minds. It’s never too late to grow.”

Spring Growth

Personally, while I definitely want to spend more time in creative pursuits, one of the things I have made a decision to pursue more whole-heartedly is being an encourager. I believe it is one of my gifts that I have only barely begun to use in my life through my blog and my friendships. My goal is to mail or give out a card or hand-written note each day to at least one person. For how long? I don’t really know. Is that too grand of a goal? Am I setting myself up for failure? Should I start smaller, like with one personal note of encouragement a week? Perhaps. But I have a box full of cards and a room full of card-making supplies. Plus, as much happiness as I hope to be spreading through my acts, I believe it will make me just as happy to connect with others in this way.

So, this morning I started with a pretty new address book and I wrote in all the information I had from my old book.

New Address Book

Next up, I plan to go through my Yahoo and Facebook contacts and my phone and include any other information from there. I know I can merge contacts electronically and keep the information in that format, but there’s just something more personal about a hand-written address book. (And then, of course, there’s white-out for all those changes that are bound to happen.)

Of course, the perfectionist in me would like to get all of the above completed first and set up a specific plan before moving on to the next step—actually beginning to share personal notes of encouragement—but I know that I will not make progress by following that path, and I just might miss out on meeting a moment of need for some of those whom I would like to reach out to. If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t tarry in the “safe zone.” Open the gate and move forward. The time to begin is now.

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As the FlyLady is known for advising on her website, “Jump in where you are.” [The FlyLady offers a housecleaning and organizing “system” that is based on establishing habits and routines to clear out clutter, get a handle on your home, make time for fun, and, in many ways, simplify your life.] What I like about her is that she understands how the perfectionism in people like me holds us back. I don’t always like to get started with some things until I feel like I am totally prepared or able to complete the new project perfectly. This sometimes means that nothing gets done. Two of FlyLady’s regular reminders to her readers encourage me:

  • Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family. (It doesn’t have to be done perfectly.)
  • You are not behind—you are just getting started! (Quite worrying about what you should already have done or trying to catch up. Each day is a new opportunity to start fresh.)

Spread Your Wings

And here are more great words from Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista: “Don’t wait until you’re completely new, in order to spread your wings. Don’t wait until there is no more sorrow, in order to celebrate the moments you do feel happy. All the moments you and I live in secret and out in the open is known. Because you and I are loved. Completely. Unconditionally. Irrevocably. Always. Again and again. Easter is alive in you. And in me.”

So, take time this day to not only rejoice in the Risen Lord and the new life we have in Christ, but also to spring forth with a new fervor to make your life a living testimony of God’s love for us and your love for others. Some might think my plan or my post is trivial, especially in light of the magnitude of this day. But if each of us reached out with our own gifts and talents in an attempt to touch a few lives, think of the difference we could make in those lives. Don’t think that what you have to offer isn’t enough. Even your smallest efforts can be multiplied by the Lord.

“Let our lives together be like the course of the sun:
rising in strength, going forth in power,
and shining more and more unto the perfect day.”
Dr. James Dobson 

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Whitespace Community Linkup @ faithbarista.com