Monday, June 2, 2014

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

As I write this I am packing up to go out of town. I barely have time to sit down and write a review as our babysitter gets here in 15 ....oops, 12 minutes. I'm answering questions in between typing. 'Do we need this?' 'Where are the sunglasses?' 'Where is the suitcase?'

I live life so fragmented, so out to the edge. I can't do things as well as I want to because I want to do everything and there's just not time. I rush around trying to get out of the house then drop something and have to stop to clean it up, so in the end I would have gotten ready faster if had I gone slower. It doesn't make sense to me, go slow in order to move forward faster. It doesn't make sense in my day to day life and it doesn't make sense in my relationship with God. But time is one of God's creations and I'm living in it and have to abide by the rules he made it with, not the 'rules' that make sense to me.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace is one woman's journey to find space in her life for rest. But it doesn't come easy for her. She wrote 10 chapters of the book before breaking down, her past coming back as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and halting her efforts. "Sometimes we can't rest until we look at why our hearts feel torn." She didn't want to work through her past, she wanted to ignore it. She found that she couldn't write the book as she originally planned so what results is a picture of how God takes broken things and makes them beautiful.

Each chapter allows for reflection and discussion questions if a group was going through this together. I found it difficult to pause at each chapter because I was so curious about the details of her story. She had a 'cliffhanger' of sorts on many chapters and it made me want to skip the reflection and see what happened next.

I found her suggestions for carving out spiritual whitespace to be so important for a busy woman today. We have to force ourselves to go against the cultural current that says our worth is based what we do and how much we can get done. We have to intentionally stop and be 'unproductive' so that we can have a more balanced and healthy life. We have to go slower in order to move forward or else we will have to go back and do things over again.

Some quotes from the book really stuck with me:

"In art, whitespace is often referred to as 'negative space.' It's the space on the page absent of marks or images...It is the key element of design that gives balance to a composition, transforming a cluttered collection of objects into an aesthetic expression of what we do see."

"Finding spiritual whitespace isn't about carving out an hour of time to escape the things that stress us. It's the opposite. It's getting away from everything we do to distract ourselves from all the hidden pieces-in order to nurture our soul. It's getting away from the lie that spiritual rest is something we have to work hard at in order to get closer to God."

"We've been taught our feelings are not reliable, so we throw them to the wayside. Trouble is, there is a part of ourselves we throw to the side too. Sometimes the harder path to rest is following your heart and holding on to nothing but Jesus."


So after reading this book and the journey that I'm going on right now in my life, I am trying to loosen the grip of my control on situations and hold on to Jesus instead. I am learning to trust him more deeply and with my heart and my mind. I'm enjoying things more and stressing about things less. I am listening to and following my feelings and trying to stop being so strong and competent. I'm admitting my faults and trusting that Jesus can take the broken parts of me and make me beautiful.

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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