white space has pattern

Today we have reached the middle of my first Write31Days adventure. Some say the middle is where all the magic happens. Thanks for taking the challenge with me as a faithful reader and welcome if you have just arrived this moment. We are bouldering, exploring "white space {creating space for soul keeping}.

Today seemed like the perfect spot to take a look at the patterns that are woven into this idea of white space for tending your soul. What is it made of?

White space might vary depending on your personality, your season of life or the lesson God has brought to the doorstep of your soul.

Tending your soul might include nature, music, baking, gardening, running, knitting, painting or reading. As I type this to you, Mike is playing guitar along with Mandolin Orange and making me smile big on my face and in my soul. However, I’ve come to see white space has a few consistent qualities, patterns and a shape to it no matter how it plays out in you.

White space is:

White space might not always be long in time at least all at once. You can build on it one time to the next, but white space has an unhurried quality. And unhurried things lend unique value to our lives. I am thinking of sweet things that take time like rising bread, caramelizing honey, making a roux, a changing season, a growing tree, time with a child, deep friendship, building trust, loving God and a solid life-giving marriage.

All of these beautiful time-soaked things add value to our lives and can neither be rushed nor neglected. Have you ever made a roux? If you rush the flowering process, it will not become the thickening agent you need it to be. On the other hand if you neglect it, it will blacken and burn and bring that burnt flavor to your meal.

Something in us is telling us we’re moving too fast,
at a pace dictated by machines rather than anything human,
and that unless we take conscious measures,
we’ll be permanently out of breath
Pico Iyer

White space is for reflection, for connecting with my own thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Sometimes in the quiet what comes rushing in are my insecurities, my flaws, my heartaches and a clear shot of my hard heart. I have discovered that this rushing in is a scare tactic of the enemy of my soul. He likes me to avoid myself and my sin. Certainly, there is truth to be faced, some painful truth, but beauty as well. Dreams. Hopes. Restoration. And the best part, the part my enemy will never tell me is Jesus will be there to help me face it and love me through it all.

I can keep avoiding my flaws and dirty hands or try cleaning them myself or I can present them to the one who knows how I am made and tenderly, faithfully, willingly, washes me white as snow.

Holy Scripture
The sort of white space that keeps your soul must spring from your Soul Keeper.

Time spent reading, listening and wrestling with God's word is at the heart of soul keeping. I don't pretend to understand all of God's ways, so I keep showing up to soak up his wisdom and visit the ones that knew him when he walked this dirt and wrote about him in the Holy Ghost.

Nothing can cut to the chase like God's word, as sharply, as tenderly, as knowingly.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

When this world quiets down, I can hear the other world, the one I was born into when I took Jesus’ hand and looked up at his face. The day when I was twelve back in Texas and I became his child to be raised by him. I heard his voice then, not out loud, but in my girl heart. I got up and walked toward his heart, stumbled is more like it. I am still walking toward his heart, a little bit every day, even taking into account the days I stood still or walked the other way.

When my home quiets down, I can hear what she needs, what needs attention. Is the faucet dripping or the toilet running or the back door sticking? At first it can be kind of disappointing if we thought the house was in good shape. But these repairs are better when caught early, say before the house is flooded.

The same is true for my soul. When I quiet my loud life, I can hear what my soul cries for. I start to hear my own tears, doubts, worries, fears and dreams. Things I might not want to hear, but need my attention all the same. I can also hear beautiful sounds like my name, my calling and purpose, the voice of my savior.

It can be hard to be alone with our thoughts, but solitude is part of the journey. If we use our solitude to reconnect with our Creator, our Savior and our Friend, and how he crafted our hearts, then it will be personal and intimate. Being alone or set apart is a pattern Jesus practiced and part of putting our trust in the one who saves us and no one else.

Obviously, we will each need differing amounts of solitude, but we all need some. If you practice solitude long enough, you’ll discover your balance, that point where you are refreshed and ready to give back what you have received and not just retreating from the world never to return. We are all better for what we bring back from our time face-to-face with the God who loves us. Reckoned, calibrated, pointed to True North.

True white space in life is a gathering of stillness. It brings rest from anything that pulls us apart: rest from work, rest from hurry, rest from competition, rest from white knuckled striving, rest from comparison, rest from demands (yours and others), rest from incoming information. In white space I have found peace for my eye, my mind, my heart, my body, and my soul.

I come out of this restful time integrated, whole, stronger and wiser.

Alongside tending our souls will spring generosity. At least at some point. I have seen the people I admire most, give while in the depths of pain and waiting in disappointment and find refreshment. They are not running from their grief (that's altogether different), but adding healing by the work of their hands to bless others.

I think it has to do with surrender to and trust in God's sometimes baffling ways and his perfect and, let's be honest, frustrating timing.

Jesus did this for us, out of his greatest suffering and communion with the Father came such generosity and grace that it filled the heavens and the earth and saved us all.

I bet you have some of these patterns in your life already. I hope I may have given you the courage to keep them there, build them up or add to them.

I'm telling the world to hush up now, just shush a minute and let me hear my soul and that of my savior, the one who made the mountains and the stars.