After kicking off our March series this week on Whitespace: Resotring Soul Rest, I wanted to share my first Faith Barista post on Whitespace. We will be exploring different ways to seek whitespace, but here is one at the top of my list.
I hope you will enjoy reflecting on it today, as we continue to ruminate on soul rest…
It was apparent from the responses that we share a common desire to break away from results oriented thinking and simply enjoy love oriented living.
But, how can we be motivated to simply rest in becoming?
An idea occurred to me as I read Break Through By Taking Breaks by Matthew May.
The article offers scientific evidence that taking down time is actually required for creativity and new thinking.
New studies show that creative revelations tend to come when the mind is engaged in an activity unrelated to the issue at hand; pressure is not conducive to recombining knowledge in new and different ways, the defining mark of creativity.
It was fascinating to learn that “putting pressure on ourselves to try and work harder, more intensely, or more quickly, may only slow down our ability to arrive at new insights.”
If this is true in the makeup of creativity in the arts, writing, and scientific invention, what would be the implications for spirituality and faith?
The necessity of whitespace isn’t just a 20th century art form. God has been calling us to the creative art of rest and renewal for generations.
“In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
My Spiritual Whitespace
One Saturday a month, I leave the house by 7:30am in the morning. I pack my journal, pen, camera, and Bible into my backpack and head outside.
Depending on mood, I’ll go for a walk. Maybe I’ll sit on a bench or a spot on a trail. If it’s raining, I find that coffee houses early on the weekend are quiet.
There’s no goal other than breathing and enjoyment. It’s inevitable that when I place myself in quietness and beauty, my de-sensitized ears open up to God’s voice. My spirit is once again touched by His love and rest.
My absence at home is brief. Refreshed, I return to Hubby who is still in one piece with the kids. With a kiss welcome home, we spend the rest of Saturday together.
A Whitespace Invitation
It’s been a sanctuary having my Saturday morning timeout regularly scheduled on the calendar.
It’s a helpful reset button, but I must be careful to include a key ingredient, so that my unplugged time isn’t simply an exercise in external rest.
After all, we can physically unplug, but still remain emotionally unsettled, fixated on our shortcomings.
Jesus says in John 6:26-28:
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.
The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
It’s compelling to note that the original Greek word for believe in this passage is pisteuo, which means “to place confidence in, to entrust oneself to [Jesus]”.
Inner whitespace of the heart is created when we place ourselves in God’s hands and trust that He will complete the work of renewal.
The more we spend time with Him, we learn to trust and become free to receive.
A Whitespace Challenge
I’d like to invite you to take the Whitespace Challenge sometime this month.
The Purpose: Practice enjoyment and being with God, as you are.
1. Do something that encourages you to be at rest, avoiding activities that are performance oriented or focused on meeting expectations.
2. Choose an activity that carries the element of quietness.
3. Enjoy it with a cup of coffee or a brew of tea.
(#3 is encouraged, but not required.)
Each person’s whitespace looks different.
How do you create whitespace?
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Today's post was originally Part 6 in the series titled, "What's New With You?". Be sure to catch the entire series: Introduction: Your Best Days Are Ahead Of You Part 1: Never Too Late To Make Room For New Part 2: Faith Isn't Sci-Fi: Change Takes TIme Part 3: Sink or Swim, God's Love Won't Quit Part 4: A Faith Intervention Part 5: The Bloom of Becoming If you enjoyed today's post, you may also like reading my post on Simple Pleasures: Baby Steps To Recapturing a Life of Joy.
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Photo Courtesy of Photobucket.
I like your suggestion of whitespace. We tend to fill the margins with all of our stuff — even our “rest”. And the rest of the soul is the only one. In order for my soul to rest, my conscience must be clear.
A few others have touched on this recently.
Gordon Atkinson recently wrote of an hour of doing nothing. I loved it!
Glynn Young wrote a great poem about his Sabbath “rest”
And I shared someone’s thoughts on the “virtue” of sloth ..
Bonnie…keep leading the charge!
Thanks for all these great links, David! All wonderful faith writers, two from our faith jam community! 🙂
To create Whitespace, I head out the door. When I’m outside taking in God’s masterpiece, I feel most restful and connected to God. There’s a riverwalk about fifteen min from my house with a lookout facing downstream of the river. That is one of my favorite places *in my town* to go when I need whitespace. I feel more rested just thinking about it. 😉
Wow, Jennifer. That is a AMAZING, to just walk down and be by a river. Just imagining it brings me a shimmer of rest.
We do live in a pressurized world sometimes ticking like a time bomb poised to explode at any time. The idea of creating whitespace in our lives is intriguing. Just being with God and placing ourselves in His care is recreative. No where on earth do we find that unconditional, perfect love and affection. If we don’t connect to it, we burn out or try to substitute it with things that fill us with toxins. Simply put, life is difficult and complex. How wonderful to put time in our lives to breathe the air of heaven and detox. Thank you for this wonderful suggestion.
There is something unexplicable recreative about God’s presence. The neat thing is that we experience that all differently and thus finding whitespace is creative exploration itself. Thanks, Dee!
You and I are similar in that I like early morning time to get quiet. I usually have a pen, journal, Bible and coffee in hand. When I can get out to a park I always take my camera with me. I dont have the ability to preschedule in advance my whitespace time due to the kids and the ’sharing’ schedule we have with their father. But I do okay in getting some much needed downtime. At different times recently when going through a really tough time or having to work through some very emotional issues I did schedule time AWAY. I took off work and traveled to a state park and stayed in the lodge overlooking a lake. I sat for hours on their stone patio looking out at the water. And one time I just drove to another state park about 1 1/2 hours from home and sat in an area with really tall trees that made a canopy but the sun could still peak through. Its there in these places that I can really quiet my mind and listen to God. Its very refreshing and rewarding. I’m ready for warm weather so I can get back out in the parks!
Me, too Lisa! I am ready for warm weather, too! Yes, we all have different ways of injecting whitespace in and it doesn’t have to be scheduled. 😉
This is exactly what the Lord has been calling me to. I haven’t been taking trips or specific get-a-ways. But ever since Christmas He’s asking “is there room for me.” So I’ve been weeding out the good and seeking instead only Him and the excellent. It’s been an amazing journey. The asking actually began…I don’t know when, a long while ago. I work full time and my job demands a lot. Busy. Over a year ago the Lord began giving me songs and recently when the weeding got more determined poems. On of the songs came from one of your blog posts. The one about God delighting in us. I prayed with you that He would work this into my soul. And He is! 🙂 The song is taking from Is 62 3-5 and the name is “In His hands.” It is as thought His healing reached down and touched the depths of my soul. So thanks for your words of encouragement and hope and honesty. You’re a great big blessing to so many, I’m sure! I always appreciate your thoughts. Keep up the good work!
OOPS…I did this in a hurry on my lunch hour. I normally can spell and proofread! 🙂
I am still learning to create this for myself and what works for me. Last week I headed to the park by myself, near the water. Read a book for a bit and then went for a walk. I don’t do this type of thing regularly. I found it so refreshing and restful, it took my anxiety down a notch. Thank you for inspiring me to continue my search for rest and whitespace.
Oh Bonnie, I’m completely down for this. I think I’m half ready to disappear for a weekend and only tell people where I’m at so they can find my body if for some reason something went wrong. My evenings and weekends are devoted to so. much. activity.
It’s making me a grumpy old man. But now I’m complaining like a little girl SO, I’m grateful and love, love LOVE it when I get a break and get to act like a child and not be responsible for a ton of crap. It genuinely brings joy to my heart. Anyway, I love the theme and I’m looking forward to more!
‘…it is good to come together
in our friendship to remember
all the reasons hope is in our hearts
Christ our joy and strength
Christ our joy and strength’
Enjoying being part of this online community! Thanks for sharing your ‘whitespace’ tip 🙂
I like how you call it whitespace. In Julia Cameron’s book The Artist Way she calls these artist dates. Those times when you take yourself on some sort of excursion by yourself. Could be visiting an art museum, antique store, a walk along a trail or sitting in a park.
I definitely find that my ideas come to me when I’m doing something totally unrelated to whatever artistic activiity it is. A nice long soak in a bubble bath is always good for coaxing my creative thoughts out into the open. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks for the good ideas here, Amy. I definitely need ways to rejuvenate the creative cells in a relaxing way.
This post is perfectly timed for me! It just so happens that I’ve got a long weekend at the beach coming up. It will be the perfect place to practice a bit of whitespace.
Such great advice. I’ve found it to be very true that when I take a break from a frustrating task, it gives me new perspective. I’ve committed to spending time outside everyday this year. Most of the time that simply looks like a walk with my boys and the dogs, but the real work is going on in my heart.
Bonnie? May I say that you are a treasure? Thank you for the dedication you give to your community of readers and writers. You inspire.
I think I’m missing the White Space in my life as I mentioned in my post last Thursday. And when an article has no white space, it becomes too cumbersome to read. I guess that means I’ve become too cumbersome to hear myself think at times.
The important point I caught here, though, is to not just disengage from activity but to find a restful spot where we can engage with the Lord. A place where He will lead our creative ideas. I like that.
I always find Him in His creation. Now to carve out a time and set a place where I would feel comfortable as well as at rest.
I’ve been blogging for a year now so I decided to celebrate by giving away a copy of Ann’s book, “One Thousand Gifts.” Stop by if you get a chance.
And thank you for that well thought out post.
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To me whitespace is not about escaping outwards but escaping inwards. Let me explain. It is so easy for me to physically step out of my life for moment or two and yes i agree is gives me time to stop and reflect but unless i bring those thoughts back into my daily life then i have learnt nothing. Recently i have been teaching about the Apostle Paul who when the Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him he replies; ‘… what wilt though have me to do…’ (Acts 9:6)
Since i taught this lesson at the beginning of August these words have kept coming back to me but i have just let them slip away again. But i know that even unspoken prayers are heard by God and now i know with clarity what he wants we to do. It wont be easy, the road may be long and i may make others unhappy for a while and they may even be those that may think i’ve finally lost it. I know, there are times that God speaks only to me and it is then up to me to share with others to help them understand, and i can only do that by finding my whitespace right inside me.
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I avoid Whitespace for fear of disappointment. I have been told that time with God is listening to his voice as well as talking to him. Many times in the past I show up and sit in the quiet and wait for something to happen but nothing does. I don’t hear anything. I worry that I need to do something to make Him speak up. Am I bored with being a believer for so long a time? Is He disappointed with me and witholding His voice? Have I not grown enough for the length of time I have known Him? Is it enough to just “BE” with Him?
Perhaps that is what He telling me with out words, that like long time friends in a well proven relationship, just sitting together in silence IS a form of communication. It says that we are comfortable together, we communicate love and trust by just being together, looking out onto life and the future in silent companionship.
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My whitespace happens as I take a walk, then come sit with a pad and pen and coffee. Or as I bring my computer to Panera or McDonalds or Starbucks. As a mother of 3, I have learned to block out noise at times. Jesus and I can be alone in a crowd sometimes.
He’s been speaking to me lately that it’s time to tell my story and address some of the issues that story provokes–right now I’m doing it through writing my testimony and starting to teach a Bible study from materials I write as I go. I want to see what happens as I get this real.
What a blessing to stumble upon your very authentic, refreshingly real blog! I am at a point of decision in my life and your words comforted, encouraged and challenged me to press onward and upward and to “write afraid” God sure used you to rekindle my sense of purpose in my writing! Bless You!!
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