This post is part of the “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour” which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!
I’ve followed Bonnie Gray for at least a year. I love her heart. Her quest for soul space echoes mine. When her new book came out, I knew I wanted to get my hands on it. And I knew it would speak to a place in my soul that I have only recently understood in my own quest for soul healing. Finding Spiritual Whitespace is Bonnie’s story from heart wrenching panic attacks and anxiety prompted by memories of trauma and emotional abuse as a little girl to finding her way as a mom and young adult, seeking true healing through the gentle touch of Jesus. I appreciate her transparent and honest journey as a christian woman, working through the affects of having closed off her heart to the real her. The little girl in her that needed to be healed and embraced and whole, just as she is, was, and always will be.
A few of the quotes that resonated most with me include:
“I can do capable; set goals, check lists, and construct new plans. But deep inside, where no one can see, where I seldom go myself. I feel restless. Unsettled. Disconnected. My heart feels lonely. I don’t really see it as loneliness. Most of the time I don’t know what’s wrong. So I tell myself nothing is wrong. That I’m fine. But I’m not really. Because, you see, I feel numb.”
“Rest is not something we engineer, but something we invite.”
“Whitespace is anything but nothing. Whitespace is a choice to convey quality and artistic value … Whitespace keeps the message from being cluttered and draws attention to what’s important. Am I trying to control the message my life is reflecting by filling it up – while avoiding the images I’d find if I stopped to rest?”
“Your soul is an instrument of God’s voice. Taking care of yourself nurtures the voice God placed in you.”
“… we were never made to do life as maintenance. God designed us to be fully alive: creative, renewed, by a sense of adventure, engaged with community, and soul-fed. Without these elements of creativity, adventure, community, and soul care, we experience a different kind of stress. Soul stress.”
“Rest. It sounds inactive, doesn’t it? I was surprised to find that rest is one of the only three ambitions that God explicitly calls out in the Bible. The other two are preaching the gospel and pleasing God.”
I love that she draws out that whitespace and soul care are a choice. It is not selfish or lazy – rest is something we need to be actively pursuing. Soul care creates space for the things that are truly important rather than allowing life to crowd out our heart and the roles that we were created for. I’ve spoken here of the call to write more. To share my heart in new ways. I’m also sensing the ongoing nudge to pursue the artist in me. Part of finding whitespace is listening. To the REAL longings of my soul. To simplifying my schedule and saying no to the non-essentials that don’t align with who Jesus is calling me to become. I’ve experienced a lot of growth in the last 10 years. And I’m learning to really listen to my soul in ways that I haven’t not understood before. But to listen requires silence. Space. For my soul to speak up. To be heard. The world and busyness and old messages that I work hard to protect myself from – they all drown out the voice of my soul. There is strength deep inside there, but the soul is fragile and easily stifled. Soul strength requires whitespace, soul grace, and a willingness to do the active work of becoming whole, true to you, and me, and the core person we are created to be inside the loving embrace of Jesus.
This book was a great reminder that whitespace, rest, the active pursuit of things that feed my spirit – are all gifts, and commands, and are celebrated by Jesus who calls me his Beloved.
**I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**
Bonnie Gray is the writer behind Faith Barista.com who wrote a book about her inspiring, heart-breaking journey to find rest, which garnered Publisher’s Weekly starred review. You can get a copy HERE.