“real freedom is freedom from the opinion of others. above all, freedom from your own opinions about yourself.” brennan manning
Every day I wrote Finding Spiritual Whitespace, the critical voice in me would say, “Who do you think you are? You think someone wants to read this? Don’t waste your time.”
Maybe you hear similar voices about your own art or about spending time or attention on something you enjoy — a seed that’s planted in you.
You keep checking the soil of your heart, doubting it, thinking it fell there by accident. But it’s still lying quiet there, waiting for you to breathe and water it with your care and your hands.
Many times, feelings of guilt weigh us down the minute we begin to feel inspired.
It’s like an automatic response when I want to share something free from my heart — or when I feel drawn to do something I feel I’d enjoy.
I begin to guilty for not doing something earlier — for something I did, didn’t do or did wrong.
I beat myself up.
I replay my mistakes.
I waste enormous amounts of energy re-enacting how I could have done it differently.
I feel bad. I feel that I am bad.
We are afraid to fully lean into that feeling of rest. And joy. Or peace.
We might not think we deserve rest or special attention. We might not think we’ve earned it. We may be afraid to give time and attention to nurture our passion.
Are we really worth it? we ask silently.
In the heart of every woman, God whispers —
Yes. You are worth it. You are my beloved.
You are mine.
Why It’s Hard To Let Go of Guilt
One of the reasons it’s hard to let go of our guilty feelings is that it feels safe. No one can hurt us if we don’t do anything. We can’t be rejected, if we never attempt to blossom.
We won’t have regrets, we tell ourselves. But, the longing God placed in us doesn’t go away.
Every woman longs to dream, to feed her soul and rest. Everyone longs to move beyond coping and surviving. Every woman longs to be loved.
4 Ways To Give Yourself the Grace to Rest
As God’s beloved, let’s keep awakening to God’s whispers of rest. Rather than driving ourselves into the ground by guilty feelings, let’s see what happens when we give ourselves permission grace to rest.
Let grace in, instead of allowing guilt to hold you heart back.
Next time those critical voices start whispering, imagine Jesus standing next to you, taking your hand gently into His.
1. Confide in Him. Then listen. What is He guiding you towards — away from?
“It’s God’s kindness that leads to repentence”
What words of kindness does He want to say to you today?
2. Give attention to what refreshes your soul with God.
“I will send the Helper to you… When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:7-17
Make changes God wants you to enjoy now with Him. Today.
3. Take the journey to discover who you are with God, rather than acceptance of others.
“It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Therefore.. do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.” Gal. 1:1, 16-18
Live as beloved through your Heavenly Father’s eyes.
4. Make time to pursue what touches you heart.
“…the Holy Spirit helps our weaknesss.. the Spirit Himself interceeds for us with groanings too deep for words. ” Rom.8:16, 26, 27
Stop thinking about grace and let grace be a heartfelt, confident prayer to be the bold, beloved version of you.
Start responding to God’s love — instead of other’s expectations of what is beautiful or good enough.
Don’t wait to be you with God. Not tomorrow when we’re more qualified. Not later, when we’re no longer struggling. Don’t wait until you’re no longer broken.
Open your heart and step out now. As is.
Grace means we no longer are trying to make up for our weaknesses. Grace means giving ourselves permission to express God’s beauty and rest — in you and me.
The seed in you isn’t there by accident. You were made to bring beautiful things into this world. Just like the One who calls you beloved – the Creator – who placed it there.
Your voice, your art, matters to Him. Don’t wait until the critical voices die down. Do your art. now. as is.
Last year, when UPS first dropped off the first books on my doorstep, I jumped in my car & drove to the hiking trail to take a picture to share the moment with you. I was so excited I forgot to change into my jeans and trail shoes!
So I hiked this way into the mountains. Then the critical voice said,”That’s dumb.” So I ended up putting this photo away.
See how the enemy of our hearts steals our joy?
Don’t wait like me. Dare to be you. With God.
Be the Beloved.
Share one thing you’d love to start or do, but feel hesitant to embrace. Or share something you’re just starting now.
Let us cheer you on!
Pull up a chair. Share a comment.
Beloved Brews Spotlights
Every week, I’ll spotlight a tagged #SpiritualWhitespace image from Instagram (like the beautiful one to the right) or blogger in our Beloved Brews Community. To be considered as a spotlight blogger, please kindly be sure to use the Beloved Brew badge or link back to Faith Barista in your post. Kindreds, I can’t wait to see your photos & read the stories you live. Thank you for sharing your voice.
Julie Sunne shares about a dream God is remaking:
“With Rachel’s inability to actually run… this is not the picture of my dreams, but it’s the reality of God’s plan for us.
It’s a reality that looks different than I had hoped or wanted. But I’m realizing different doesn’t mean bad. In our adapted meadow run, there’s still togetherness. There’s still joy..so much more good. There’s empathy, understanding and weakness. (Yes, weakness is good!)
My dream was based solely on the here and now. My dream depicted joy in the moment. God’s reality holds joy for eternity.”
Beloved Brews Link Up
Whole-hearted Writing. You & Jesus.
Welcome to our Beloved Brews weekly link-up! Pour out a little love with your words every Thursday (publish any day. link-up on Thursdays). Simply write a blog post about what God’s sharing with your heart this week and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? Just share a comment. Visit thebonniegray.com to read the comments & share your voice too.
Next week’s 6/18 writing prompt: (what is God sharing with your heart?)
Please use the Beloved Brews button in your blog post so we’ll know you’re in our community & others can join (use this html code here). When you link up your post, read & leave an encouraging comment on the post linked up just before yours. Thanks, kindreds!
Share photos that touch your heart with God’s beauty and rest using #spiritualwhitespace on Instagram. It’ll be fun to see your pics!
May the writing prompt bring you to a quiet place in your soul as you share your voice. Click here for details.
Bonnie, I love Spiritual Whitespace…your open, honest, transparent sharing of how God is working in your life…and this sweet photo of the day you received your first copy of your book…in a small way I have experienced that inner joy…Jesus is always right there with us, encouraging us , just like you did today, to Be the Beloved ❤️
I have been asked to substitute at my son’s high school next year. The thought of it interests me but also terrifies me. I find myself doubling my ability to do something as simple as calling roll without making a mistake that would make students laugh and then embarrass my son. Every time I think of it I see problems instead of blessings in serving. I continue to pray over it but still feel the same doubts. Thank you for this post and the opportunity to share.
You’re going to do GREAT, Catherine! The Lord is opening that door for you, and all you need to do is be your own wonderful self, the one your Father created you to be! “To err is human…” so if you do make mistakes (which we ALL do), I hope you’ll be able to simply laugh at yourself. This will teach the kids that it’s really okay to just be themselves, flaws and all. The Lord bless you as you prepare yourself, and your heart, over the summer.
I’ve thought about writing a book as I page through old journals and retrace the paths of my heart over the years. I’d like to dance, too, freely and confidently. Maybe there’s a Groupon out there somewhere…
[…] 4 Ways To Let Grace In Instead of Guilt […]
I’m not sure what that deep desire of mine in. I haven’t asked myself in so long I’m not sure I even know! I’ve gotten used to pushing that stuff aside or down inside. But I love that you’ve opened up the discussion. And I’m asking myself and wondering, and praying. Being a mom, I’ve just put all my joy and attention to that which I love, but I’m seeing that I’m allowed to nurture me. So I’m hesitantly asking myself the question and seeing where that goes. Your book started that for me.
this post, is so full of Gods truth, thank you!
I share similar a background as you and your blog and book has impacted my life,God is using you in a most huge way, I want to thank you for your transparency. You have helped so many of us.! Art is one of the most powerful therapys . Gods Blessings to You Dear Friend…. Gloria
thank you gloria for those kind words. i am so grateful to hear!
[…] sharing at Thought-Provoking Thursday, Beloved Brews […]
Thank you for this, Bonnie. While God has really been sifting through my guilt tendencies, I still slip into that old pattern. My heart is to lean into grace, to pursue God (it’s even my tag line) but I forget to do it…I forget to rest in Him. And when it comes to my art, my words, I often wrestle with doubt and disbelief. I needed your words to remind me that I can…write, and lean, and rest in grace, guilt free!
Yes. Yes. Yes. When I read your words, I think we are kindred spirits. Thank you for your encouragement today. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
Bonnie, your book was a pivotal tool God used in my life in the summer of last year. The previous year I had got to the point that I couldn’t live my life without God anymore. I grew up in church, but as the storms kept rolling in, wave after wave of pain and heartache, there was no more wind in my sails to keep going. For 12 years I lived a life opposite of what I truly believed. I just couldn’t live that way anymore. It was a dead end street. The first 6 months where God recaptured my heart were like nothing I had ever experienced before! I understood the bible, and had such a deep hunger to know God more. I was free from years of depression and insecurities that plagued my mind for years. A seed was planted in my heart to write a book. I’d thought about it years ago, because my friends at church would tell me to write, because of all the difficult situations I had faced. It’s different when God plants that seed. I wasn’t really a reader or into books at all. Eventhough I did good in English, it wasn’t my favorite subject. So, I knew this was a God planted seed. Now, I couldn’t put books down, or stop writing after God’s grace changed me. As I started to descend into the valley from that mountaintop expereince, the waves came crashing in. I stood strong for awhile. I kept quoting, “i rejoice in my suffering” as Paul did, but I could feel the depression creeping in again, my health deteriorated, God was what I clinged to even when I didn’t feel like holding on. I started counseling, and learned about that girl that responds to things instead of who I had become in Christ. Then I saw your book and ordered it. I read it twice within one week, and would go back to it frequently. As I read your post today, I could relate to all of it. I have started writing, but I have really no idea what I’m doing. I have had to wrestle with doubt, fear, and I keep pressing on through it. Doubt and fear are really a sign of taking that step out in faith. Those things naturally come when we take risks, but when I keep my focus on Jesus, He directs my oath thrrough those thoughts. All I can do is trust that God will guide me and grow what He’s planted in my heart, because I know that this is something He has called me to do. Thank you so much for the encouragement today!
julie i am so! glad to hear that He used Finding Spiritual Whitespace in your life. what a beautiful story you have shared here!
I am scared of soooooo many things…one am I doing what God wants me to be doing? working in the family business? Can I do this without my father THERE?
I am leading my children in the way God wants me to?
Am I being the spouse God wants me to be for my husband?
I guess even though I say I KNOW i cant be “perfect”…I am doing/acting/trying anyway?
too many questions…
Hi, Bonnie! It is totally NOT DUMB for you to have not dressed for hiking! Yes, you are YOU! And we love you so much! Not to mention, you look so adorable — a sweet girl sharing her excitement with us! Thank you for sharing it … even if it took awhile. <3
Right now, as we just moved to a new city, I am looking for a job to help with family finances. I've been mostly a stay-at-home mom the past 18 years and, although I'm excited for the adventure of re-joining the workforce, I'm kinda scared to go out there and see if I'll be accepted "as is" into a good job. I'm trusting the Lord for peace and direction, but the feelings of fright as I come out of my safe little burrow, and of inadequacy as a face an unknown "world out there", these feelings keep cropping up… I don't get to take the time right now to learn a trade that might interest me, nor to look for & train for my "dream job" really. Instead I have to find something to gain a paycheck … for the time being.
Will you — and any other sisters who read this — pray for me this week?
I appreciate all the wonderful encouragement I find whenever I read your blog, Bonnie. Thank you for being such a blessing!
Hi Tina, I will be praying for you this week as you step out in courage and faith to find that new job. That He leads you to a job that will not only bring in income, but also something you might really enjoy. This is an exciting new adventure for you, God will be with you every step of the way. Praying for you, Sister. Xox
Thank you very much, Veronica!
prayers for you today, tina.
Thank you very much, Bonnie. 🙂 I got a call on the 12th for an interview on Monday! Yay! I appreciate the prayers of my sisters in Christ.
Hi Bonnie, I always look forward to your posts. They encourage my soul. Yes, The enemy of our hearts likes to steal our joy and fill us with guilt. God wants us free, but the enemy does not. So to speak it, to finally give words to the source of our pain and guilt is freeing. It feels like a big exhale. And it says to Satan, you are no longer the boss of me. You no longer have the ability to rob me of the life that Christ died to give me. A free life, a beautiful life. So thank you for pouring out truth and grace. And thank you for sharing that adorable picture. Beloved. Xox
Oh this post! Part of me feels frustrated after reading because I think, “Why can’t I just get to this place?!” But thankfully I am learning that this is all a process. I was just writing a letter reflecting on my time in counseling the past few months and I was thinking about how I’d been waiting for a magical moment that would just get me back into that place of excited passionate fully trusting faith again. But what I’m learning as that I’m in a different place in life and there is this new, slow-nurturing faith happening, and all that you said here is part of that process.
I’d love to start writing again 🙂
oh yes, a process for sure. keep on walking down the path and maybe pick up a pen? 🙂
Just what I needed today — the reminder to lean into grace instead of giving in to guilt. Thanks for the uplifting post & for hosting! God bless.
I’ve been toying with the idea of taking piano lessons back up. I took lessons as a child and I let one tricky song get the best of me and gave up. Now that my son has been playing for almost 4 years, I’ve picked up his books and been able to play a little like I did when I was 7. I would love to pick up where I left off and learn to play something beautiful. Maybe even a duet with my son. Now, to take that initial step of faith and do it…. 😉
Awesome post today my friend! (((HUGS)))
Bonnie, this was much needed. I feel like He has tried repeatedly to convey this Truth to me, but I still fight it…doubting it can be True.
I started my own kids clothing line years back and didn’t get as far as I could have possibly, because I let doubt and fear hold me back. Then I think I listened to the wrong voice that said just give it up. And maybe for that season, laying it down, God did use for my good…
But I want to dream without feeling guilty that I am being selfish. If I could let myself dream again I would use my art and creativity to decorate, be gifts, and sell. I was already on a path to finding freedom in this, so today, reading this was timely.
I just really want to let the Spirit lead, so I think sometimes the fear that I am jumping the gun without Him has held me back from trying again. Do you have any advice on this latter part?
that is so beautifully put. i want to dream without feeling guilty. meghan, you were made to dream! seek His voice, find it in the Scriptures, and truly listen to what His heart is for.
Thank you Bonnie 🙂
I will. I need to stay in that intimate place with Him and not let the cares of the “world” have authority in my life. When I stay in that place…I feel His peace. It’s crazy how one day of getting off track can make your mind feel bluh…but I know His mercies are new everyday and He is with me on this journey.
Thanks again for taking time to blog and reply. Love and God bless you!
Now that I’m retired from teaching, I have more time to pursue another avenue that touches my heart: writing. I do wonder where this avenue will lead, but try to leave the destination in God’s hands and follow his leading day by day. Thank you, Bonnie, for your encouragement that “the seed in [me] isn’t there by accident. [I was] made to bring beautiful things into this world. Just like the One who calls [me] beloved – the Creator – who placed it there.” This new passion isn’t a coincidence. God WILL use it for his glory, as I rely on him!
I didn’t read your email right away but saved it and just read it. It really spoke to me, especially these words that you wrote. “Your voice, your art, matters to Him. Don’t wait until the critical voices die down. Do your art. now. as is. ” I feel guilty doing art, something that I really love doing. I feel I have to do something more productive, though I do share on FB to help inspire people sometimes. I don’t get much response so then I wonder if anyone cares. I’ll send cards and no response most of the time. Now I’m realizing that I’m making art for God. He gave me this gift and if it is seen or not, it doesn’t matter. I’ll share it with Him. He is my kind, loving Father who delights in my art. I don’t neglect my housework duties or anything like that. This is only in my “free” time. Thank you for your words!!!
I came across a journal yesterday, from 8 years ago….When I read it, I realized I am struggling from the same feelings of not measuring up. Not pretty enough, lack of confidence so forth. I am ready to get free of those feelings. My time is now….
I just fell across your book in my play books app on my phone. I’ve been in a season of my life where I’m looking for more of God and I don’t quite feel him or even hear him. I’m expierencing loniless even tho I am married and have 2 small children. I was in a desperate place seeking him when I got a thought to open up my play books and ur book was being displayed so I started to read the preview and I went from laughing at how good works to crying and even hyperventilating as I read ur book. I immediately downloaded it. And today as I continued reading it is been such an emotional day. It’s like u are reading right into my life.
Thank u for this Book! For sharing ur stories and encouraging those of us who feel alone at times.
I’d always had it in my heart to have or hold woman bible studies in my home one day. But bc I lived in a small apartment I never did have one. But my dream of having my very own home to raise my family in had finally come and we will be closing on a House in a few days. And thru this process of home finding, I felt as though God was telling me my home would be a HOP HOUSE OF PRAYER.
AND that desire to have the bible studies really started to impress in my heart.
Thru this house process about 2 or 3 times we their were times where we almost didn’t go thru with the purchase.
MY husband has fallen into habit of drinking every other day, drinking alot. And so I began questioning whether it was the right time or not, this drinking went on for quiet some time and I even began contemplating taking the kids and leaving. In desperation I began going to A-Alon meetings, meeting for family of Alcoholics. And it was good to hear similar stories BUT I knew that God was bigger IS BIGGER THAN ANY ADDICTION and COULD ACTUALLY DELIVER! THEY DIDN’T HAVE THOSE SAME BELIEFS. I HEARD STORIES, LIKE IT IS WHAT IS, and it’s inherited and not only do I have an alcoholic spouse but now children. That didn’t sit well with me.
I BELIEVE CHAINS CAN BE BROKEN.
I BELIEVE GOD DOES DELIVER
I LEFT THOSE MEETINGS BELIEVING ON MORE SO THAT I CAN NOT BE THE ONLY ONE IN CHURCH WHO’S SPOUSE IS STRUGGLING WITH SOME SORT IF ADDICTION MAINLY ALCOHOL. BUT I HAVE YET TO MET ANYONE ELSE WHO HAS COME OUT AND SPOKEN ABOUT IT.
So I do believe once we close on our home that I am to not just hold bible studies at my home but to center them around Christian sisters who’s husband’s do attend church and are even in ministry yet struggling with this ugly addiction.
That’s causes shame.
So I pray if this is what God wants that he will show me and guide me thru it all ♡
I’d love ur prayers and encouragement along the way.
Thank u Bonnie for being so brave.
I almost forgot the most important PRAISE REPORT EVER!
MY husband has not drank in a almost 5 weeks!!!!
I started doing Bible journaling on Facebook months ago, the one where you draw in your Bible or write or whatever the verse is for that week. I enjoyed it so much I started getting a little better media to use in my art. What I love is mixed media, it’s messy, paint on your hands and table and somtimes clothes. I’ve been in a slump the last few weeks but that is partially due to a Bible study at church and joining a womens order at my church that I have to study for 3 months to discern whether it is something I want to commit to. It’s fairly involved and called the Daughters of the Holy Cross. Anyway, I get that inner critic so much of the time and one of the bloggers that is an artist said to just a clean journal sheet and start painting, just put something down and that will get you started. So I guess that’s true with all things, for sure writing. Oh, one more thing I have your book Spiritual Whitespace but I haven’t started it yet because I have a whole bookcase full of books I haven’t read but I’m going to get to yours soon. God bless and peace to you. And I can’t wait to start getting your blogs.
oh, me too.. i love journaling. kindreds, yes?