On “Finding Spiritual Whitespace”

{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!}FindingWhitespace_alt3D

Me: “I am too afraid of unleashing the emotions that go along with my reaction to this book. I am afraid that as I start writing, the dam is going to break and the tears are going to pour….”

P: “That’s ok love. This is entirely normal when you are dealing with something so emotionally powerful.”

The dialogue above is a text message exchange between my husband and me, discussing Bonnie Gray’s book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace. To say Bonnie’s book is “emotionally powerful” is incredibly accurate. Not only that, I would go so far as to say this book is full of eye-opening truths that every person needs to hear read.

I have always known that I am fairly skilled at avoidance, but not until reading this book did I realize just how much I have honed this skill. When my copy of Finding Spiritual Whitespace arrived, I was naively giddy about its content. Little did I know, Bonnie’s personal story was about to impact my soul, my story in so many beautiful ways. Coincidentally, the book arrived on my birthday. Looking back on that now, I could not think of a more perfect way to begin my twenty-seventh year.

From the first chapter to the very end, I felt as though Bonnie was speaking directly to me. Debilitating panic attacks? Check. Depression? Sadly, yes. Feelings of abandonment? Again, yes. During her time healing from the open wounds of her childhood, Bonnie discovers “spiritual whitespace,” which she defines as “places to enjoy soul rest with God” (p. 13), and “a journey to discover the authentic you” (p. 80).

Bonnie’s idea of “spiritual whitespace”–in essence, soul rest–is something everyone should consider adhering to in order to keep from just “getting by”, just “being okay.” As I read Bonnie’s words, I found years of repressed memories from my childhood floating up to the surface and staring me square in the face. In addition to the journaling prompts at the end of each chapter, Bonnie’s raw vulnerability encouraged me to mull over my long-avoided memories and provided the strength to gradually process my repressed past. With the focus here being on Bonnie’s story, not on mine, I will refrain from sharing details of these memories.

I am still in the process of finding “spiritual whitespace” myself, but what I have learned thus far is that this journey is well worth it. I strongly encourage all of you to embark on the path to find spiritual whitespace and soul rest for yourselves.

I will leave you with some food for thought: “Perfect peace from God isn’t found by forgetting. Peace is ours if we dare to remember our pain and our sorrow, and experience our fears fully with Jesus” (p. 76). Emotionally powerful? I definitely think so.

FSW God uses broken pieces

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. I’m taking the journey to find rest through this guidebook and invite you to read it too.  You can get a copy HERE.

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Summer Tunes

This is my first post about music on the blog, and I do not think there could be a more fitting topic than the band Spoon. This band has been my favorite for nearly ten years. After taking a three-ish year hiatus and embarking on some side projects (see: Divine Fits), Spoon has come back together to record They Want My Soul, due to be released on August 5. I am so giddy, I am currently listening to this awesome interview Britt Daniel and Jim Eno recently did with NPR’s All Songs Considered…on repeat. No lie.

Spoon will be performing in Chicago for Lollapalooza this year. I do not have tickets to Lolla, so fortunately they will be doing an after-show at Metro, which I plan to attend. You can bet I am starting an official countdown to August 5!

Also, P and I purchased The Black Keys’ latest, Turn Blue, this weekend as an anniversary gift to each other. We have yet to make time to listen to it in its entirety, but I plan to do so in the next couple of days.

I cannot explain how ecstatic I am that two of my most beloved bands have released new music just in time for the summer. Finally, I am showing signs of my former (pre-sinus-and-trigeminal-nerve-issues) self by feeling cheery, giddy, and excited about one of my oldest and strongest passions: music.

Rest Isn’t a Waste of Time: On Self-Care and Self-Compassion

{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!}

As I continue on this journey of spiritual whitespace, I am realizing that it goes hand-in-hand with my journey towards intentionality. I have finally been able to pick Finding Spiritual Whitespace back up and absorbed another fifty or so pages of Bonnie’s enriching words yesterday afternoon.

I am so glad I forced myself to push on and return to Bonnie’s story, because I feel I made some major breakthroughs yesterday. I have decided to heed Bonnie’s words and take small steps, make little movements towards spiritual whitespace in the form of practicing self-care and self-compassion. I know I am my harshest critic and often my own worst enemy. I put too much pressure on myself, sell myself short, and often become fixated on my failures instead of my triumphs, on my illness rather than my small improvements in health. I have always found it easier to dole out love and compassion to others before doing so for myself. While I read part of Bonnie’s story yesterday afternoon, I decided: that stops now. Now is the time to treat myself as His beloved. Now is the time to begin taking care of myself. I have determined that I want to work on showing myself more compassion, cutting myself some slack, and celebrating my achievements, no matter how small.

It was with this resolution that I headed to the gym in the evening to take a Pilates class despite not having worked out in two weeks. It was with this resolution that I made myself a protein shake for breakfast instead of devouring the last piece of cake in the refrigerator. And it was with this resolution that I napped after driving P to work this morning.

I resolve to start listening to my body again, to treating myself right. I am His beloved; I am worthy. I am God’s poeima.

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. I’m taking the journey to find rest through this beautiful guidebook and invite you to read it too.  You can get a copy HERE.

 

{Confide}

 

FSW BookArt7_Jesuswhispers

 

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!

Jesus is calling me to confide in Him by pushing through with my reading of “Finding Spiritual Whitespace.” I am on chapter 8, “Insomnia,” and I have not been able to continue on because the book is resonating with my past so much. Bonnie Gray’s words have brought a multitude of past experiences and memories to the forefront of my mind. Today I am confiding in Him by quietly reflecting on those memories that have been repressed for so long. I know I have lots of healing to do, and Bonnie’s words have been the impetus for allowing that healing to finally take place. As I begin this process of healing, I am afraid and apprehensive. However, I know I have been hurting too long and need to allow myself to move forward from this pain. How blessed I am to have the guidance of God and Finding Spiritual Whitespace as I move forth on this journey.

 

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. I’m taking the journey to find rest through this guidebook and invite you to read it too. You can get a copy HERE.

Our One Year Anniversary

P,

Happy Anniversary! The past year has gone by in the blink of an eye. We have been to near-hell and back; experienced pain and suffering, growth and triumph, and our love has matured into one of husband and wife. You are my best friend, my confidant, my cheerleader, my coach, my teacher, but most of all, you are my true love. Thank you for all that you do on a daily basis to make me the happiest woman on the planet. I would be absolutely lost without you–I love you more than I can adequately express in words. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us, because I know that with you by my side, I can do anything.

To many, many more…

You make me happier than I have ever been.

You make me happier than I have ever been.

Nicole_Paul-31

View More: http://benelsassphotography.pass.us/nicole-and-pauls-wedding

View More: http://benelsassphotography.pass.us/nicole-and-pauls-wedding

 

Note: photographs courtesy of Ben Elsass of Ben Elsass Photography.

On Soul Rest and Spiritual Whitespace

As some of you may have noticed, I am currently on vacation in Arizona with P. He is here on business; I am here on business and pleasure. (P and I make sure to keep business and pleasure expenses separate; I assure you it’s all quite ethical.)

You see, I have been called to embark on a journey to discover “spiritual whitespace,” a concept on which author Bonnie Gray elaborates beautifully in her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace. So when I say “I am here on business,” I mean I am here on spiritual business taking time to rest my soul.

In the coming weeks, I will be reading Bonnie’s work of art, her story of how she discovered spiritual whitespace. I will also be writing posts about my journey to find spiritual whitespace, and posts on the book itself. I hope you will follow along and that you will be encouraged to seek spiritual whitespace for yourself.

Whitespace Community Linkup @ faithbarista.com

Note: please visit Bonnie Gray at FaithBarista.com and click on the badge above to read others’ posts on spiritual whitespace. This post is written in affiliation with the book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

Intentionality

Intentionality. Intentionality. Intentionality.

Is it just me, or does it feel like “intentionality” is the unofficial buzzword for 2014? It seems to be everywhere! I am almost to the point where I am sick of hearing it; the word just feels so…vapid. (Personally, I prefer the word “deliberate,” but that’s just me.)

I was having an internal dialogue…with myself… (1. Redundant, I know, and 2. yes, I actually have internal dialogues…several times a day. Hey, I never claimed to be normal!)

Anyway, I was having this back-and-forth debate inside my head just now when I realized: wait a minute. Maybe I am hearing and seeing this word over and over and over because God wants me to pay attention to it. AHA! Perhaps He has been trying to get my attention so I would focus on the meaning of “intentionality” this entire time! (Dear Heavenly Father: the lightbulb has finally turned on. You know how thick my skull can be! I apologize for taking so long.)

All of that elaboration just to say this: I am decidedly going to sit and think about how I can begin living my life with–you guessed it!–intentionality. My hope is that focusing on being intentional will help me work towards achieving my current goals and desires.

This is guaranteed to be an interesting ride. I hope you will stick with me through the ups and downs! What are you doing to live intentionally?