Pain. Who wants it? None of us. Who would want to bring up the painful past, anyway? Isn’t everything better when we press on, fight the good fight, stiff upper lip, let the past stay in the past, right? Stuff it back there in the way, way back, of the dark closet. Forget about it. Get on with life.
Well, Bonnie Gray has just released a book that drags the past out of the closet and into the grace-filled light and peace found only in God’s gracious and very real presence. Finding Spiritual Whitespace is about the journey we all must take to be truly whole.
“Perfect peace from God isn’t found by forgetting. Peace is ours if we dare to remember our pain and our fears fully with Jesus. Shalom peace from God is a putting back together.”
“Shalom is the movement to recover pieces of ourselves that have been abandoned, a putting back together of what we’ve left behind, to find Jesus with us in our memories.”
One of the biggest challenges I have faced since I walked into this Christian experience 22 years ago carrying a lot of baggage is how to unpack those bags safely, effectively, and properly. Initially I thought I could get away with ignoring the bags. I had been exposed to enough secular psychology that I could have had my own talk show. I even helped a few others unpack their bags, and off they ran with Jesus. But once I immersed myself in Christian culture I felt a sort of identity crisis begin to brew within . The kind that doesn’t lead to wholeness, health and healing but to the same treadmill the world is running on, only now in a Christian Running Suit.
I knew somehow that there was supposed to be peace and freedom in this new life I was pursuing. Yet the stirring within continued. I longed for something I could not articulate and reached for the places one assumes that these may be attained. Yet I found more of the same performance based messages, and I succumbed because my flesh delighted in it, it is all I knew. The applause and approval of many still outweighed the same from just One. Rest eluded me. Still I longed for it, and recognized that it would only come from the One I was coming to know, ever so slowly.
Vulnerability is not something I enjoy feeling. I spent many years building myself up, making myself strong physically and mentally. I made it my business, my lifestyle, literally. As a Bodybuilder and Power-lifter my name was built on strength; training others defined my life. Within, an emotionally crippled child remained, as caged as a stray dog at the shelter. Safe, yes. Optimal conditions, not so much. The conditions I needed to thrive would take a lot of undoing. By the one who undoes a soul to make it new and whole. Soul Rest is slowly acquired. It can’t be rushed. That is the beauty and gift of spiritual whitespace.
I believe this book Bonnie is sharing has the power to heal. But only after messing with you first. It’s messing with me, in ways I know are needful. Because the fact is, although we grow up, move on, get busy with life, any unfinished business has a way of catching up with us.
“The world may view our broken stories and tell us it’s better to hide them. To forget the shame we carry, put on a smile, and disappear under the work we do, the people we please, and the frenetic activity of keeping busy.”
“Spiritual whitespace brings us to a different peace where we are real.”
How do we awaken our soul to rest?
That is exactly what Bonnie is seeking to do, gently she encourages us on, through journaling prompts at the end of each chapter as well as thought provoking questions, helping us to go deeper.
I am honored to be on the Book Launch Team with such an amazing group of kindreds. I am on Chapter 14 (of 26) and will be sharing a review in the days ahead, but can already tell you I recommend this book and journey to survivors of every kind. And aren’t we all survivors of something, even this thing called life?
But living above survival mode is the rest that we need to know about.
If you are weary and needing rest or longing for Jesus and not finding Him in the expected places, this book might just be the cold glass of water for your thirsty soul.
Let’s discover the beauty of this together, shall we?
Linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose and who also has a new book out: Atlas Girl!
Also linking with Marissa’s Cozy Reading Spot