Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
One of my friends jokes that she’s a golf widow in summer because her hubs manages a golf course. When things are busy at our business, I’m a business widow :). And since business has picked up in a big way the last couple of months, I’ve felt that way a lot lately. And in need of some spiritual whitespace myself.
Finding Spiritual Whitespace was an interesting book. Bonnie Gray is a blogger and writer over at the (in)courage blog. Obviously, she has a following and for a good reason. FSW impacted me greatly, though not for reasons I expected. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and so I never feel like I’m doing that great of a job. Bonnie shared her personal story and I felt like I was doing a pretty damn good job. I was reading parts to my husband and he actually told me stop; he didn’t want to hear anymore.
I really wish I had time to re-read and then DO before writing my review because I think it could be a really valuable exercise and I could share how it changed my life, too. Finding Spiritual Whitespace is divided into 6 parts and each has 3-6 chapters. The parts cover the following topics: the beginning, and rest as choosing, freedom, intimacy, living and an awakening. Each chapter ends with a prompt to share, a few things to try concerning the chapter’s aspect of whitespace, and a prayer prompt. The sharing prompt could be something like
When you are stressed, are you more comfortable being alone rather than being alone with God?
How is God calling you to stop on the side of life’s busy highway, to nurture & awaken your soul to joy?
An example of a practical prompt would be:
Whitespace friend list. Draw up a list of restful friends to connect with. They don’t have to be your best friends and you don’t have to see them frequently or for long lengths of time. Take a deep breath and start going down the list.
A prayer prompt example is:
Putting your heart first. When have you recently put your heart to the side? Share this with Jesus. What does he say?
As you can see, the questions and prompts are varied enough that almost everyone can find something useful. My favorite chapters were the last 3 though. Chapter 24 was a menu of whitespace option worksheets, chapter 25 talks to the practicalities of actually DOING it, and 26 covers things that can trigger (or kill) your quest for whitespace. I’m all about practicality and a book about lofty spiritual goals without practical help is pretty pointless. Ask me about strength training sometime.
So really, I would say Finding Spiritual Whitespace is a two books in one. First, there is an intensely moving memoir that would be a good book in its own right. Second, walking with Bonnie Gray through her journey of pain & awakening can help find or trigger your need for spiritual whitespace. I’m looking forward to reading it again in the fall. Right now, I’m already behind on 2 summer book club reads (i.e. I haven’t started them yet)…I’m one of those people who have 12 books going at once :).
If you are feeling like you need to back up & take a few deep breaths, I think Finding Spiritual Whitespace could be just what you need. Looking for a sample? She is having a 21 Days of Rest series on HER blog faithbarista.com. Go check it out!