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About Bonnie Gray

Bonnie Gray is author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest, garnering starred review praise from Publisher's Weekly, named as one of PW's top 6 notable new religion authors. Bonnie is a featured contributor at (in)courage and her writing is nationally syndicated, spotlighted by Relevant Magazine, Catalyst Leadership, Today's Christian Woman, and Christianity Today. A UCLA graduate, Bonnie has been a missionary, ministry entrepreneur and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. Bonnie serves up shots of faith for the daily grind on her blog Faith Barista.com. Bonnie lives in Northern California with her husband Eric and their two sons.

Life 2.0: When You Want To Start Over but Feel Afraid

Bonnie Gray
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Bonnie Gray is author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest, garnering starred review praise from Publisher's Weekly, named as one of PW's top 6 notable new religion authors. Bonnie is a featured contributor at (in)courage and her writing is nationally syndicated, spotlighted by Relevant Magazine, Catalyst Leadership, Today's Christian Woman, and Christianity Today. A UCLA graduate, Bonnie has been a missionary, ministry entrepreneur and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. Bonnie serves up shots of faith for the daily grind on her blog Faith Barista.com. Bonnie lives in Northern California with her husband Eric and their two sons.

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"Come and discover a love you don't have to work for.” E'yen A. Gardner, Love Letters

{feel free to share & download April's Shots of Spiritual Whitespace Prompts [printable below].}

It's daunting.  Starting over.

That's what I'm doing. I'm on the other side of my journey to heal. I don't have panic attacks anymore like I once did. And even the depression that I've experienced for the past couple years is lifting. But, I'm not the person I once was.  And it doesn't mean life will resume as it once did.

Maybe you're feeling this way too? Is God pointing you ahead to a new journey -- and even though it might seem easier, you can't go back to doing life as you have?

Now that my heart is awake to the truth of my story, my wounding and my dreams, I can never unsee the things I've discovered about myself, God, others and life.

God's calling me to live a new way -- as His beloved. It's both exhilarating and also overwhelming.

It's scary to take on an identity that you never felt could ever be yours.

The Beloved?

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The Second Follow

That's what happens when you uncover your heart.  You're given a second chance to follow Jesus -- in a completely new way -- apart from the story you might have been born into -- or even the story you chose for yourself -- once upon a time.

Jesus says to us, "Come follow me."  This is not the first "Come follow me" Jesus made to the disciples when he first met them washing their nets fishing.

This is the second "Come follow me". That is maybe harder.

This second "Come follow me" happened after the resurrection.  After Jesus rose from the dead. After the disciples tasted and experienced loss, pain, fear and their own failures.

The first "Come follow me" was with the physical Jesus.  But, this second one was going to be guided by faith -- a Presence inside them.  The Voice of the Holy Spirit.

This Second Follow could only be experienced by listening to a quiet Voice inside them -- to step out on a new journey with Jesus.

This Second Follow would take them -- beyond what they could see -- to experience a new identity.

This new self included a cross and a whole identity -- where their stories weren't perfect -- but they were perfectly loved by God.

And as strange as it sounds, this new identity kind of scares me. 

Can I really just suddenly leave my old identity -- and choose to be God's beloved?

April2015_Full_SpiritualWhitespaceShots

{click here to download April's Shots of Spiritual Whitspace}

Life 2.0

What would be the consequences of living with such a radical identity?

What would be the blessings of such a radical identity?

What would be my story?

My Life 1.0: Longing for Soul Rest.  I used to exercise my faith by being strong for God. Hiding. People-pleasing. Fearful of my voice.  

Now that I am living a life of Spiritual Whitespaceno longer debilitated by panic attacks, God's been calling me to live Life 2.0.

Life 2.0:  Becoming God's beloved. God's calling me to experience my faith by being God's beloved. Being fully present.  Soul-nurtured. Speaking in my whole voice.

Since January, I started intentionally making changes -- small and big decisions -- to only say yes to things that point me in the direction of being God's beloved. And saying no to what doesn't.

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{click to download April's Shots of Spiritual Whitspace}

I'm giving myself permission to be loved. And that means making choices that feel scary. 

But, I'm learning sometimes, fear is found at the doorway where we leave who we once were -- in order to become who we were meant to be: God's beloved.

"My presence will go with you and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14

A Curious Ending

Fear is what the first women who brought spices to the tomb where Jesus laid -- Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome -- found on one morning -- along with a stone rolled away. An angel told them Jesus wasn't dead.

"He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you." Mark 16:7

Then, the strangest, most curious end to a story happened:

"Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid." Mark 16:8

The women were afraid -- even though they were staring at a miracle: life after death.

What Will We Do?

Sometimes, when God rolls away a stone from a tomb in our lives, we can react the same way.  Paralyzed by doubt, disbelief.

We know what to do with dead ends.

But, an empty tomb?  This is not what we expect.

And yet, this is how Mark, the author of the fourth Gospel in the Bible, chose to end the story of Jesus. [The earliest manuscripts do not have verses 9–20 in the text.]

I was shocked and comforted to find this ending post-Easter. 

God knows how we feel, confronted with a stone rolled away.

We read in the other Gospels that the women eventually did go back to tell the disciples what they saw and heard.

What will we do?

Don't Bend

Have you received some words from God? Maybe you are unexpectedly standing before an empty tomb. Or a stone rolled away.

Are you keeping quiet, afraid of where Jesus is leading you?  Is Jesus is asking you to follow Him -- in a new way?

Jesus is going before you.  

But, you will have to make choices to experience this new journey ahead.

This month post-Easter, I want to encourage you to step out.

Don't bend. Don't water yourself down. Be the you God made.

Begin your version of Life 2.0. Be the Beloved.

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion..."
Frank Kafka

~~~~~

Pull up a chair. Share a comment.  

What is your version of Life 2.0? How is Jesus calling you to The Second Follow?

~~~~~

For more encouragement and words of rest for your soul, read Bonnie’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Restwhich garnered starred review praise from Publisher’s Weekly.

Bonnie Gray blogs at Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in the daily grindShe has been named Top 6 Notable New Religion Authors by Publisher's Weekly and writes for DaySpring (in)courage, Revelant Magazine, spotlighted by Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership.  A UCLA graduate, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.

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{photo credit} printbles hand-lettering & photography by Kelly Ishmael Minding my nest.

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