““A [person] who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.” Lysa TerKeurst, The Best Yes
That’s me these days – an overwhelmed schedule and a soul that could use a little break – some whitespace, if you will.
I love the term “whitespace”. It’s a word that originates in the field of design. But it isn’t just about blank and empty places. It’s more about space that gives the eye place to rest – to breathe, to take in the beauty surrounding and incorporated within it, to let the occupant of the space move a bit, enjoy the space.
It’s easy to talk about the beauty of white space when you are looking at a relatively blank canvas.
However, it gets a lot harder to find rest in that space once the canvas starts to get filled up.
And once the space is all filled up, there’s no room to breathe, let alone move.
Our soul, just like a canvas or a living room, was never meant to be crammed full of things from border to border. She needs room to pace, to grow, to breathe. But when we begin to get overwhelmed, somehow we find ourselves reaching out for MORE instead of less.
I know. It’s completely counterintuitive, right? But we do it anyway! Before we know it, our souls begin to turn on us or, worse yet, just decide to give up and busyness becomes a way of living for a soul that was meant for far more than just a constant state of irritation and stress.
You see, what we need most in those moments of feeling overwhelmed is breathing room. Space to be real and interact with what’s actually going on in our world.
But instead, that underlying state of agitation causes us to search for something to quench it with. And the next thing we know, we are adding “MORE” to our life canvases. And then, sweet friends, busyness has replaced any chance our souls had for taking a breath.
In other words, busyness has become a way in which we sort of “self-medicate” our souls. I know that sounds harsh. But we don’t know what else to do with ourselves. It’s a concept we’ve learned from modern medicine, I think. If something “aches”, there’s a medicine to take for it. While that might be an ideal solution in healing the body, it isn’t necessarily so in the business of soul-tending.
When our lives are so filled up with “stuff” and activities, we have no room for God to come in and give us what we really need. C.S. Lewis said it beautifully:
“We find God an interruption. God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full – there’s simply no place for Him to put it.” C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain.
After reading THAT, I recently wrote THIS in my journal:
Oh God, let me never see You as an interruption! And if I ever DO – then PLEASE interrupt me! Help me to see that my BEST YES is to look directly to You in those moments when I’m tempted to throw another activity into my already overloaded day because I’m too overwhelmed to honestly evaluate what I’m doing. Help me to empty my hands of mindless things and meaningless to-dos, and instead keep them open to You and Your blessing.
Einstein is often quoted as having said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. If that’s the case, then I might just be certifiably crazy, sweet friends! I keep loading my hands up with “stuff” and miss out on what God’s trying to give me, all the while wondering why I feel so overwhelmed. You too?
What would it look like today if you tried something different? If you told your calendar that she is not the boss of you?! If you took control of the requests and opportunities coming your way and decided to proactively use your schedule as a place holder for the things in which God has led you to invest in, not what others request of you? What if you spent time in prayer with God, withdrawing (like Jesus often did) “to out-of-the-way places” (Luke 5:16) to clear your soul’s clutter, tend to the backlog, and bring those soul irritants into the presence of God instead of ignoring them?
I’d say that’d be a pretty great start to making better yeses, if not the best ones. Ones that even Jesus would be proud of us for making.
I was reminded the other day of a snippet of scripture in the book of Acts depicting the stoning of Stephen. It’s not the stoning part I want to discuss here! It’s actually this bit:
“But [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!'” Acts 7:55-57, NKJV
Did you catch that? Jesus STOOD. Stephen’s act of faith in stepping forward caused our Savior to rise from His seated position next to Our Father. Amazing! I wonder if He wouldn’t also stand up for us as we make steps in faith towards decisions of integrity and best yeses. Wouldn’t that be something?
Yep. THAT would be beautifully overwhelming – in the best possible way!
Following along with our GracePace 2015 Bible Study Series?! If so, here’s what’s going on this week:
- Check out this link to the second online video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANnb6bUfobU&feature=share This week, I’ll be dishing on Martha and her sister Mary, preparing dinner for Jesus!
- Read Chapters 4-6 in The Best Yes main book!
- Complete your desired level of personal study sections for session 1 in the Study Guide for The Best Yes!
- On your chalkboard, write one of the Proverbs listed on page 44 of your Study Guide and remember to meditate on it each day!
- Check out this link to our song this week, “When the Crazies Set In” by Francesca Battistelli!
Have a wonderful week, sweet friends! See you back here next week!
Peace, love, and JOY!
Up Next Week: Decisions, decisions…!