[Not to read; just to look at:]
Outside, the wind roars.
Inside, its tendrils invade, waft over floorboards.
I cozy up under fuzzy fleece, tuck in my feet, and review my year’s blog posts and journals.
In minutes, I read:
What do you do when the creative (or spiritual) well runs dry? Sometimes I try pumping harder, to stir up novel ideas or holy thoughts. There’s a place for that. But I also have a crying need for “white space” — moments of rest for overloaded brain and soul.
Even devotional time with God needs “white space”: periods of stillness without petition, Bible reading, devotional doing, or simultaneous physical tasks! Just silence in His presence!
I blogged that, essentially, a year ago. Common sense told me that much — especially when to-do lists (both physical and spiritual) overwhelmed me.
I can busily read through three Bible chapters in twenty minutes or less. No white space. I can give you a pretty good recap of what I read, too. But this alone tends to be like skipping a stone across water. I get to the other side, as planned, but never sink in very deep.
Reading it thoughtfully, prayerfully, repetitively, takes time. And sinking it down into my heart and assimilating it into my life requires slowing, stopping, rereading, pondering, savoring. Time aside from busyness. Silence. White space.
Yet, do we fear silence? Does even ten-second stillness feel “awkward,” seem to require “rescue” by someone talking or singing to fill up the quiet?
We need — I need — time to soak in what’s poured out, be it words read or preached, or the Holy Spirit Himself. It’s too easy to get misled into thinking the world — or even God — can’t get along without the “rescue” of chatter or clatter, when what He wants for us is “Be still, and know that I am God”!
I want to read the Bible-in-a-year again, really. But what good will that do if I don’t give it time to sink in and alter my mind, heart, and life?
Planning time for both Bible read-through and slower, more meditative reading is best, shoving some trivial pursuits aside. But if I can’t do both, spreading my reading over more than a year is better than forfeiting the rich white space I need for assimilating into my soul what comes in through my ears, eyes, and brain.
I am learning the treasures of well-timed silence. May I guard them through the coming year.
Now I walk past the kitchen table. There, at husband’s place, a solitary index card says this:
Ps 37:7a Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him…
Ps 62:5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, For my hope is in Him.
A silent, unknowing “Amen”!