“Breathe…”

“When your heart is troubled, your body weary, or your mind consumed with dilemmas and uncertainty, your soul is longing for something more than checking another box off a list… He is calling us to find a new place of rest beyond our ability to create it.”

Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest –  Bonnie Gray

I have been working for several months on this idea of creating enough downtime in my life.  It has never been a part of my personality to just sit and do nothing.  But God has been calling me in this direction for quite a while.  It is almost as if I have been hearing Him say, “Come and sit with Me.  Find peace and find rest.”  And He has been reinforcing this call through others, who have spoken multiple times about experiencing the same need.

So when I saw this book being promoted, I thought this might make a great resource for a small group study.  I have the privilege of serving a church as the Small Groups Director, so I am always trying to let God lead me into the next step for our congregation’s spiritual journey.  I bought the book, and when I began reading it, I found that it was nothing like what I expected.  I expected a primer on how to build quiet time into your life.  But what I got was so much more powerful.

Although this is not a book I would recommend for small group study, I believe this is the most life transforming book I have read in years.  It has truly taken me to places I didn’t even know I needed to go.  But God did.  This study is far too intense for a normal small group.  But it is extremely valuable in helping anyone dealing with significant emotional trauma or those approaching breakdown status.

The book is written by Bonnie Gray, a professional Christian author and blogger.  It chronicles her journey back to health after having what I consider a nervous breakdown.  She discusses it in terms of a multi-year recovery from post traumatic stress disorder.  The kicker is, she didn’t know she even had any stress, and when she began to breakdown, she had no idea what was happening.  That is the scary part.

Bonnie is a working mom, with kids, husband, church, school, work, sports commitments…. just like me and every other woman I know.  She ran as hard as she could all the time (like us,) made sure everyone was taken care of (like us,) kept everyone’s schedule flowing (like us,) – and one day just found herself unable to get out of bed.  And such begins her story.

Now, Bonnie had some childhood issues that she never addressed as an adult – divorce, unstable home life and such.  And as she began to work her way out of this pit, she found that her perfectionism, her feelings of inadequacy, and fear of being abandoned had all driven her to the point of being completely wiped out.

I see a lot of myself in Bonnie.  As I read through this journey with her, I continue to understand more clearly why God put this book in front of me.  And I am thankful He did.  In His grace, He has been leading me for over a year into a place of rest, a place of renewal – a place where I am not evaluated on my productivity.  He is leading me to an understanding that I am loved just because I am.

Coming into this new place is hard.  It is so different from the ingrained instincts that have always pushed me to do more.  I have had to learn to say “no.”  And people don’t always like that.  I have had to learn to not fill up every minute of my day, and to leave some whitespace – those spaces where relationships are formed and strengthened, with God and people.

I cannot determine where I am in the journey, since I have never traveled this road before.  But I can tell you this: I am spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically much more healthy that I was a year ago.  Joy is beginning to radiate out of my soul.  And I can finally rest.

Thank God for leading me down the paths that draw me into this lifestyle of whitespace.  And I thank Him for continuing to provide the people and resources that keep me moving.  Amen.

 

If you would like to look at the book, or purchase it, just click on the link below to be transferred to Amazon.com.

Be Blessed friends.

http://astore.amazon.com/libecrosuni0a-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=2

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