Creating White Space for God

K   |   March 8, 2019 

I have lived in a mega city for nearly twenty years and it is loud, crowded, and never-ending in its motion. However, I am a city girl through and through and I love the commotion! But even for me, the never pausing bustle of city life can make finding space for God a challenge. There is always another distraction, more people to see, places to go, work to do and when I come home there is the lure of Netflix and Amazon Prime, not to mention endless books to read on my Kindle. After all, I have worked hard today and I deserve a break.

As much as I love the city life and this noise, busyness and distraction can leave me wrung out and in need of something more.

Bonnie Gray in her book "Finding Spiritual White Space: Awakening Your Soul to Rest" equates our need for space/for rest with our need to have white space around the ink on the page of a book or blog post we are reading. Too little white space on a page and reading becomes difficult if not impossible. Too little white space in our lives and connecting with God becomes a burden we bear, not the easy load of Matthew 11.

I know that I am not allowing enough white space in my life when I can’t identify the moments when God has been present in my day. When I fail to recognise his grace to me in the small things of my days or when my emotions just seem that little bit (or in my case a lot) out of control. These are my warning signs that it is time to make space.

But that is not as easy as it sounds. Have you ever noticed that when Jesus planned a retreat with his disciples, invariably the crowd followed? (See the Luke 9 telling of the feeding of the 5000.) I have discovered that I need a range of different ways to include white space in my life if I am going to make it work. For me these include

  • an app on my phone that beeps on the hour. This is a reminder to stop and acknowledge God’s presence with me, and look for where he is currently at work in my life.
  • a longer period of time each day to read the word and pray sometimes. This is 15 minutes some days and on other days it is 2 hours.
  • one evening a week when I hide. I try to turn off my devices (though I am not ready good at doing this) and spend a quiet evening. I might read a book or I might simply sit on the sofa and watch the twinkle lights on my bookshelf and see what God says to me.
  • not working from about 4 pm on Saturday till 4 pm on Sunday on most weeks. I find that by late Sunday afternoon my mind has already shifted to the next week, so starting my “sabbath” on Saturday has really helped. I am not legalistic about this. Some weeks I need to work on the weekend, but I endeavour to keep that an exception rather than the rule.
  • clearing an afternoon (or at least a couple of hours) on my schedule and go to one of my favourite cafes with my bible and journal once a month.
  • taking a retreat for a day or two once in a year. Sometimes I do this on my own, some years I go to a retreat centre- this year two friends are joining me which means we can go and stay somewhere beautiful and enjoy our Father’s creation.

For you, these white spaces may look quite different. Susanna Wesley (mother of John and Charles Wesley) had at least 10 kids at home most of her life. There was no place she could go away to spend time with God so she would sit on a chair in her kitchen and throw her long apron over her head. Her kids were trained to know that when she was with Jesus they were not to disturb her unless it was a life and death situation.

Your white space might be 15 minutes while your child sleeps, or time carved out by playing worship music on your headphones during your commute or turning off all your devices at 9 pm. In the same way that Jesus found his white spaces in the midst of a busy ministry life, we can find them in the midst of the craziness of an Indian life. It just requires some creativity – and as women we are good at that.

The reward for making this kind of space for God is His presence and a greater awareness of Him in our days. And with that, more access to joy, peace, patience, kindness and the other fruit that comes from a deepening dependency on Jesus.

How do you create white space for God in your life?

 

Photo by RayBay on Unsplash

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K

K is an Aussie transplant who has lived in North India for the last two decades. Her biggest buzz comes from being able to help others to learn and to enjoy a deeper relationship with Jesus. K can frequently be found in one of the cafes in her adopted home city drinking hot chocolate since real decaf coffee has yet to make its way to India.

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