Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ruthlessly Choosing Spiritual White Space {or Bare-Footed and Filled Up}

On a cement piling which juts out into Lake Michigan, noise from the city above me muted,  
I am drowned in the sound of waves rushing and crashing against the piling below, the shorline behind me. 

My eyes are filled with the bright blues and swirling whites of a still-dawning new day.
Rays of light powerfully playing on moving water, casting sparks of glory atoss with each wave and ripple. 

The cement I sit on is firm and cool from a not far gone nightime's dark. 
My Bible, book and coffee are at hand. 
The wind works it's playfull mess in my hair, and I let it...

It was a ruthless chasing that led me here, 
to this place where all of my senses were completely released from the busy, 
my mind and heart allowed to slow and fully engage in alone time with my Abba.

I had planned on the predictable comforts of a bench alongside a manicured walking path, with it's secure distance from waters edge, it's close proximity to my car's parking spot.
It would offer views and sounds, but remained detached from a true experiencing of the lakeshore in it's fullest God-glory.

I needed to be closer, to be as near those crashing waves and sun rays as possible...
I contemplated the rugged footpath {at least a 60degree decline} 

of sharp rock and pressed dirt. 
My flipflops were not practical. There was a risk of falling, 
but the craving of my soul to pull as far into these moments and this place as possible beckoned me; pulled and drew me. 

Slipping off the sandals, book bag slung over one sholder, I slowly embraced the risk of dirty feet, inched onto the decline, and found the path down to be steep, but secure and my mouth filled with giggles over the sight I must be. 

The footpath leveled off in a low thicket which I crept through, startling a few scavenging birds and over-zealous chipmunks before breaking through to ravishing beach glory. 

Looking over my shoulder, I saw from where I had come and joyously embraced the space where God had set aside time for me to be with him;
pefectly welcomed always. as. is. 

Is this not how finding spiritual white space is? 
Getting into a place to listen; hearing His call.
Allowing the crave of your soul to draw you tighter; leaning further into these moments.
Choosing to abandon predictable, to slow the normal, to embrace the bare-footed risk of ruthlessly chasing down His Spirit's invitation over our soul-rest! 

And what is found, 
but joy infinite; knowing and being known in His always-welcome.
Slow communing, His word, His Spirit, my heart bare with all of it's wounded, broken, messy, gross need; 

scars constantly met with perfect healing and transformation into invaluable grace-marks; beauty lines marking my heart as His.
Redemption alive in my rested and filled soul.

"Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion {His People}; 
Shout, O Israel {His Chosen One}
Rejoice and exult with all your heart...
The Lord has taken away the judgements against you;

He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you by His love, 
He will exult over you with loud singing... "{Zephaniah3}

I later climbed back up that steep foot path, the sounds of the city with all of it's bustle again meeting my ears. 
There was a friend to meet with, laundry to fold, a broken dishwasher,  communication to manage, and my people to love big. 
I climbed back into my normal 
{my world, my heart, my soul held} 
known and filled to the overflow of rich grace and love into all that my face, words, hands would meet.

White space; the space which all true artists 
{of whom He is supreme} 
purposefully leave bare or undefined to give greater illumination to what is present upon their canvas. 
This space, it is not blank,  but gives the eye a place to rest; 
not wasted, but breathing beauty into the work or the piece. 
You will find it everywhere if you look. In a piece of music with it's purposeful pauses and rests, in art, in the beauty of a speech given or song sung... even upon this blog page, unmarked white space allowing these words to unfurl void of the clutter which would drown them should white space be avoided. 

Our souls; God's masterpiece, where He delights to beautifully paint the image of His Son; 
They need white space, unmarked times alone with Abba, for rest and beauty to unfurl free of clutter.  
To fill all soul-space with structured routines, constant going, constant pouring out, constant doing void of being.  
If every Bible time becomes about preparing for the next small group or study, 
if every prayer time finds it's definition in some list, some clock, or some cool acronym, 
our soul's will crave unmet, our creativity will diminish, our experience of His meeting us will become rote, impersonal. 

I know this. 

I have been here. 

Jesus knew this.
He withdrew to be with His Father. 

He set aside the predictable, didn't tell anyone where He was going, and leaned into those moments with His Abba. 
In His perfect living there in that broken flesh like mine,
He did this that I might do it.
That I might move through that torn down veil, gathering up my gowns of beauty, running through courts of infinite majesty to His presence for the sheer delight of doing so. Outstretched arms, scarred hands always swinging me in welcome; gathering me in. His scars healing mine. every. time.
It is in this communing white space, drunk on rivers of His delight in me, that my soul finds it's unhindered companionship with my sweet Abba, Savior, and Spirit Comforter!

"My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king' my tongue is like the pen of a ready writer...
You are the most handsome of the sons of men, 
Grace is poured upon your lips, 
In your majesty ride out victoriously, 
Therefore God, your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness, 
Your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes, and cassia...
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear...
the king will desire your beauty, 
Since He is your LORD, bow to Him..." {Psalm45}

Sometimes it's on our back deck, or at the life-scratched table top,  or from my favorite reading chair, or through a quiet stroll, 
but O, how I am being given by His love to know this deep desire and the intense priority He has for my ruthless guard of spiritual white space.

What about you?
Does your soul crave unmarked spiritual white space? Are you thirsty for this? 

Do you know what it tastes of?
Are you eager over guarding unhindered spots of life and space to be, simply be, with Him? 

Do your Bible-open times reflect communion alongside study? 

Where can you carve this out? 
{A cafe nearby, on a quiet stroll as evening falls, in the early dawn's still? }
What activities of His image-bearing can you nurture as reflection of His constant companionship?
{Creating? Arranging? Cooking? Writing? Gardening? Athletic training?...}
His unique crafting of your specific giftings and interests are designed to draw your soul towards refreshment and intimite knowing of Him. 

Resist the critics 
{inside and outside your ear}
 that declare selfishness afoot; a response that is in keeping with the Enemy's desire to stifle and cripple our soul's deepest worship and imaging of Abba. 
Move into deeper soul-rest by guarding your communion with Him and the outworking ways He delights to breathe beauty through you into the mission He has called you to. 

Have a spiritual white space moment? place? story? 
Share it here in this place for my grace-sisters to love {and learn from and lean on} one another!

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