When you need rest and alone time with God, is it hard or easy? What holds you back?
When Hubby asked me out on our first date, it wasn’t what I expected.
I had a strong, but unsubstantiated suspicion he was interested in me as more than a friend. So, I daydreamed for weeks about our first date. A romantic night out in the city? Maybe tickets to a play or live music somehow?
Nope. He wanted to take me to the movies. In the afternoon. I was used to going out late at night.
Shouldn’t we have dinner before the show? We finished dinner early. A little past nine.
As I slipped into the passenger seat while Hubby held the door, I thought, Maybe he’ll take us on a leisurely stroll.
Nope. He said he had a great time and began to steer the conversation in the same direction our car was driving.
It was goodnight.
Standing in the elevator going up to my second floor apartment, I had to confront the possibility.
Maybe he doesn’t like me as much as I like him.
This was the conclusion I drew, based on the stipulations I put on what constituted a “romantic” evening.
We often do the same thing when it comes to enjoying spiritual whitespace — spending 1-1 time with God.
We make up rules on what it means to have “quiet time” with Jesus.
I’d like to help rewrite some of those rules.
Here is a list of stipulations that hold us back from whitespace — inspired by some conversation with friends at a party.
See if you recognize any.
The Five Whitespace Killers
1. Time Minimum. I must spend X minutes with God in order for it to count.
2. Procrastination Disqualifier. If I’ve procrastinated x number of hours (days or weeks), God is already disappointed. I’m already in the whitespace doghouse.
3. White Glove Test. My house (or fill in the blank) needs to be cleaner and neater. How can I get spiritually in tune with God when my room is a mess.
4. Goal-Oriented Perfectionism. I must stick with “the plan” to prove my devotion to God. (fill in whatever Bible reading/prayer program to complete X timeframe)
5. Nostalgia. I’ve always done whitespace “this way”. To tailor time with God to meet my current life circumstances would not be beautiful or soul-changing.
When we put rules on how God can connect with us, we forget we are in a relationship with a God who woos and desires us.
And we miss out on the opportunities to steal moments of intimacy and refreshment with Jesus — during the times we need it most.
Our hearts were created for relationship. When we are vulnerable, our souls exhale.
Whitespace. We were created to enjoy it with God.
When we carry ourselves — as is — into His embrace, we find that Jesus simply welcomes us to come. He’ll take care of the rest.
The Five Whitespace Creators
Jesus wants to unshackle us from the rules that keep us from whitespace. Jesus offers these Five Whitespace Creators, freely so we can enjoy time with Him.
One is called Grace.
Two is Love.
Three is God’s Favor.
Number four are twins Hope and Joy.
Which leaves us with number five.
You guessed it. Though small as a sesame seed, it might be missed. Jesus sees.
Number five is Faith.
I was so worried whether Hubby was attracted and really enjoying time with me — I focused on the wrong indicators.
I discounted how we lost track of time and how our cheeks must have ached from all the smiling and laughing.
We talked as two old friends reunited, filling in the pieces the other had missed throughout the years. We could sit and be quiet. Sip our coffee, without pressure to fill the space.
Conversation. That’s why Hubby planned the theaters for the afternoon, not the evening. He wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee together before the flick, to get to know me better.
Considerate. His thinking behind setting dinner up early. We could enjoy each other’s company without the pressure to have it go late into the night.
Gracious. He didn’t want to be pushy after taking so much of my day. He was afraid I’d say yes, because I was too polite to say no.
So, you see, I got it all wrong. He didn’t just tolerate spending time with me.
He was crazy about me.
Do you find it easy or difficult to enjoy whitespace — alone time with God?
What do you like to do to get spiritual whitespace?
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
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Today’s Topic 9/1: Whitespace topic: Share anything you’d like about your alone time with God.
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Next Thursday’s Topic 9/8: What season of faith are you walking through? Fall (letting go) – Winter (loss/waiting) – Spring (new starts) – Summer (embrace and celebrate)
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