Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray (book review)

I had a hard time getting into this book, "Finding Spiritual Whitespace" by Bonnie Gray. I liked the writing; she has a beautiful, laid-back style. I just couldn't relate. Gray has come from a hard childhood - parents divorced when she was young, her dad left and never tried to communicate with her or her sister, her mom was verbally abusive and seems like a really tough woman.
picture via Amazon
"Finding Spiritual Whitespace" is kind of set up like a study. There are questions at the end of each chapter and usually they pertain to your past. Examples: When have you felt cut up? What is your earliest memory of being happy? Sad? What kind of music did you enjoy listening to as a child?

Oh goodness, I just don't have that many memories. Honestly. Gray found that she had memories stored in her that were causing post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks. I just don't remember much. It's kind of a joke in my family. And especially vivid memories - those are lost on me.

What I really appreciated about this book was the Whitespace Challenge. Throughout the telling of her coming through PTSD and those challenges, Gray shared with us a sort of new way to spend time with God. Not a scheduled, sit down with a Bible, journal, and some nice calming music quiet time. But learning to invite God into the "whitespace" of your day.

I love this idea. I stress a lot about doing things "right" - prayer, meditation, memorization, Bible study. A lot of things that are good things but things I don't believe God wants us to stress over! But there are a million voices telling me the "right" way to do things. And I'm so Type A people pleaser that I hate to disappoint or do it "wrong." So I love that Gray has opened my eyes to the realization (in my heart because I've known this in my head for a long time) that there is no one right way to spend time with God.

Sometimes it may be with a journal and Bible in a nice cozy chair. Sometimes it may be in the bathtub just talking to Him. It can be outside, inside. Daytime, nighttime, midmorning! I believe it can be while I'm washing dishes or folding laundry or watching tv (sometimes, not all the time). God does not belong in a box. He can speak to us whenever, wherever, however He desires.

I am taking time this week to really listen to God to hear Him speak to me a word. Just one. One word giving me direction, encouragement, discernment, peace, something from Him. I may hear this word as I go and watch the Waltons or while I'm playing with my kids or while I'm cooking supper or while I'm on the phone with my husband. I still plan to spend time in His Word but to not put my time with him in a box of "I must spend X minutes or else I'm a super failure."

I'm tired of being a Christian failure and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I plan to give myself as much grace as He has given me because I am not my own.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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