White space is for adding meaning to your life.
Once we have subtracted the obvious and maybe the not so obvious, cleared out some clutter from our lives and our minds (both good and bad), then we can look at adding meaning into those spaces. I have found that both sides of carving out white space, the subtraction and the addition, are works of progress, so grace is the word here. Be kind to yourself while you're discovering how it works for you.
If white space is not just blank space, but with things hidden in the weave, then things happen there. It is dynamic. I come to white space to breathe and since God gives me breath, I come to meet him. I want to hear his voice, to see invisible things he built into the fabric of the world, to meet intangibles.
God did not just speak once and is now silent. He is forever speaking.
If I am quiet for just one second, I can feel contrasts, pieces that don’t seem to fit together. This feeling might be uncomfortable, but resist the urge to run. Sometimes even in the fray when I am doing one thing in this material world another world visits, the immaterial. I might be washing dishes after dinner, scraping tomato sauce off of plates and suddenly wonder how in the world God wore skin and bones? How does glory settle into terra cotta pots?
My mind is blown with my hands in the suds.
2 Corinthians 4:7 in the Message says it like this,
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness.
We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned
clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from
confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s
not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not
much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles,
but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we
know that God knows what to do . . .
I might not know how to carry brightness in an unadorned clay pot (that is what i am trying to give room to), but this kind of bringing together of things from different realms is God's sweet spot. It is His brightness filling His clay pot (you or me). He designed the two to go together. That is the story of the gospel.
In my mind, white space is for this kind of work, bringing things together, hard things and beautiful things, pain and healing, God's glory and terra cotta pots. It is the work of wholeheartedness. Like any creative piecework, collage, quilting, mosaic, weaving, you are gathering small things, sometimes broken things and tying them together into something new.
White space can give you time to think on precious things both big and tiny:
water * grace * glory * elbows * how things grow (dirt & babies) * stars
sky * skin * mending * rising from ashes * fire * flight * oceans *sea shells
forgiveness * sacrifice * dying * pinecones * acorns * marriage * friendship
mercy * freckles * everlasting * moonbeams * mountains * moss * love * courage
eyelashes * barn swallows * clouds * thunder * butterflies * salmon runs * heartbreak * fireflies
In the white space I am talking about, I am surrendering to that other world, invisible, imperishable, creative, the one untouched by rust and moth and thieves. I am crossing into the atmosphere of my soul.
I like to think that I am always surrendered to this other world, to the heavenlies, even when I am busy in this one, the dirt one. This is soul work when I find I am moving back and forth like the angels on Jacob’s ladder. And Jesus is that ladder. There is no substitute for the intentional time I give to soul keeping:
Getting familiar with Jesus
Opening my heart to Holy Scripture
Long walks outdoors
Worshipping the Living God
Observing patterns (in nature, scripture, my heart & life)
Wrestling down my stubborn heart
Laughing with friends and family
Hearing small whispers
Asking God what is my “for such a time as this”?
Working on forgiving
Being small me
Being original me
This isn’t navel gazing. This is gathering and integrating strength and wisdom from God, not myself. When I return to the daily work at hand, I will bring all I have soaked up in white space to give back to God, to myself and to those around me.
I hope to use my white space to discover my heart and the God who shapes it. I want to be nearer to wholeheartedness, closer to my original design. Reclaimed and restored. Beloved. When I get little glimpses of how God cares for me, I want that for you too. That's why I am writing everyday. I declare, even in my sleep.
Before you think I am saying that white space is only for big and serious stuff, take another look at my list above. Come back tomorrow and we can chat about being small, being original and being creative.
Oh, I can't wait!