Desperate for White Space?

14 Jul

Multi-tasking WomanI (Dawn) saw a woman at the mall with the following T-shirt:  “Of course, I don’t look busy … I did it right the first time!”

I heard about a woman who returned from too many business appointments. Her young daughter greeted her with, “Hi, Aunt Mom.”  Umm… too busy!

But I think I’ve got the busy bug, too. I was talking on the phone the other day, and in the middle of the conversation, I forgot who the person on the other end of the line was ~ or why she called me in the first place! (OK, that one might be chalked up to some lost brain cells.)

Do you ever feel like you are scrambling in the fast lane? Or, maybe you  actually enjoy multitasking and being busy ~ but things get a little out of hand sometimes? Maybe you just need to create a little “space.”

When I was in fifth grade, I wrote an essay on a test, and had so much to say that I wrote tightly, from one edge of the paper to another. My teacher wrote me a note: “ThisisgoodDawnbutIcanhardlyreadit.Trytoleavesomespacenexttime.” LOL!

I remember reading an article several years ago about Dr. Richard Swenson’s book on the need for “margins” in our lives…. spaces where we can breath and rest … the necessity of creating some “white space” in our calendar.

Pam and I have a friend, Danna Demetre, who referred to Swenson’s book in her own book as she wrote about the importance of balanced living. She wrote, in What Happened to My Life? (Chapter 2: The Balancing Act) ~ “By simple definition, balance means ‘a state of equilibrium.'”

When I used to think of “balance” or “equilibrium,” I tended to picture some zen philosopher; but then I saw that Jesus grew in four areas of life (Luke 2:52). Our Lord had the ultimate balanced life,  and He is our model.

“In my opinion,” Danna said, “true life balance is equilibrium of body, soul, and spirit. If our spiritual life is in balance, it will dramatically affect the balance of our body and soul. Many of us need to implement some simple principles to help us live more purposefully in our daily lives so we can relax emotionally and focus on our relationship with God.” (1)

Then Danna listed eight practical tips to help restore margin in our lives:

  1. Expect the unexpected.
  2. When scheduling your plans, increase your time window to decrease rushing.
  3. Learn to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best!
  4. Prune your activities to essentials whenever you can.
  5. Cut your to-do list for today in half and expect it to take twice the time you think.
  6. Release yourself from the hyper-speed mentality of the world and release others also.
  7. Get less done … but do the right things!
  8. Create your own buffer zones ~ schedule free time for both daily and weekly renewal.

“Living a life of balance does not mean that we become ultra efficient time-management experts,” Danna wrote. “It does mean that we adjust moment to moment to life’s surprises and God’s divine appointments. “

Danna’s words motivated me to streamline my stuffed calendar so I could respond to life more “intentionally,” as Danna encouraged. We don’t know the span of our lifetime, but we need to be careful in how we use each day (Psalm 39:4-5). We can’t afford to waste a single day, and we will tend to do that ~ no matter how busy we are ~ if our lives are out of balance.

Things are better, but still not completely without hassles. But that’s OK, too.

“The balanced life is not an easy, stress-free life,” Danna said. “but it is a life that Juggling Lifekeeps bouncing back like one of those weighted children’s toys that won’t stay down when you push it over.”

The true balancing act is to achieve the mission God has for us for each day, while keeping the mind and heart focused on eternal values (Matthew 16:26).

Danna’s book is a 40-day journey into regaining the freedom, purpose, passion, and joy we may have lost as we juggled the balls of life, dealt with various crises, or struggled with a discontented heart.

Words in Danna’s introduction resonated with me. She said, “… most of us simply need to slow down and make better choices. We need to reinterpret life and have more realistic expectations. We need to CHOOSE THE VERY BEST from among all the good and SURRENDER our entire life to God and his purposes.” (emphasis mine)

So, Girlfriends, let’s create some “white space” in our calendars, our homes, and every part of our lives!

(1) Danna Demetre, What Happened to My Life?: Finding New Passion, Purpose, and Joy (Revell/Baker Publishing Group), 2010

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2 Responses to “Desperate for White Space?”

  1. Sharon G. July 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Busyness…I’ve just started to relearn what that is. I’ve just gone back to full time work. I haven’t been here in 4 years. Now I’m trying to figure out to fit life into the few free hours I now have available.

  2. Dawn Wilson July 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    I understand, Sharon. Believe me. God will give you wisdom. Ask Him to show you what you can cut out to make some “space.”

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