Bonnie Gray is the soulful author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. An inspirational speaker and retreat leader, she has touched thousands of lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer and meditation. Bonnie’s writing is featured on Relevant Magazine, DaySpring (in)courage, and Christianity Today. She lives in California with her husband and their two sons. Visit Bonnie at www.thebonniegray.com and connect with her @thebonniegray on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
The clock is my dictator
I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me to deep depression.
It hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy for activity’s sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task,
I will never get it all done.
For my “ideal” is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval,
they drive me.
They demand performance from me
beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines.
My in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressure shall follow me
all the days of my life.
- by Marcia Hornok
Which line in The Clock is My Dictator by Marica Hornok resonates with where you are now?
Fatigue and time pressure is what I don't want following me.
But, if I only think this desire -- without making changes to move in the opposite direction of surely goodness and mercy -- I will by default get sucked into the flow of answering emails, being online or performing to address the constant growing demands pulling on me.
I end up feeling like all I'm doing is paddling upstream, trying to get to a place where I've done everything -- so I can see the bottom of my to do list.
But, you know what?
That to-do list is bottomless.
It keeps growing as I check my way down the list.
Even if I've checked every box on my list -- that moment is only fleeting.
My self-engineered moments of "rest" were only gained after a lot of hard work, toil and stress.
It's not that I'm some maniacal workaholic. I'm not.
No More For Me
On the outside, I might look calm as a cucumber. But I'm more like an prisoner inside, never free of the list.
My soul is shut off while my heart is frantically executing constant shifting tetris-like maneuvers.
It's all very demanding emotionally -- especially if a bump along the way comes up.
Those days are no more for me.
I don't want to work hard to see the bottom of a list.
I was made for more than executing blocks of time on a schedule well.
I something more real, more alive, more meaning for to reach and see.
I have decided to follow Jesus onto the journey of rest. I want to see the top of my soul at rest with Jesus.
I am declaring --
- the clock is not my shepherd.
- the list is not my shepherd.
- dysfunctional relationships are not my shepherds.
- my failure or accomplishment is not my shepherd.
I can't control how things on my list works out.
It's real life. Not everything gets resolved.
It doesn't mean God isn't in control.
The one thing I am sure God is in control of is my heart -- when I yield it to Him.
The one thing I can count on is who I can count on.
Jesus is my shepherd.
All of us, after all, is resting in something.
The question is what our heart has chosen to rest in?
I don't want the clock and my to-do list to control how my day goes.
I want Jesus to be in control of my heart -- by making choices that help me engage my heart and access to my heart:
savoring beauty and quiet,
enjoying things that feed my soul,
giving myself permission to say yes or no from the prompting of my heart -- rather than saying yes or no based on how much time my schedule has open.
connecting 1-1 with real people, instead of hiding in the anonymity of group activities or the heart-numbing work of doing.
I'm taking a different approach now.
I am finding my spiritual whitspace. I am making room for me, for God, for rest. I am taking time to feed my soul, to care for what God holds most precious: who am I, not what I can do.
I want to live out of a restful soul.
I what to choose a living story -- a real life following Jesus -- instead of my ideal or other's ideal of me.
From a List to the Beloved
I want to simply be God's sheep.
I want to say unapologetically -- I need.
The Lord is my shepherd.
To make this truth a reality, I am changing the rules.
I'm not going to operate from a list.
I am going to make changes as a beloved daughter.
Because you and I are God's beloved, we don't have to be run by that to-do list.
Instead of pushing ourselves to follow any rules of the world to be successful, popular or loved, we can change the rules.
Choose what goodness and mercy to your heart would lead you to say yes.
Because goodness and mercy is what follows after a woman loved by God.
Do the things where we can be the kind of person who hears Jesus whispering.
I love you. Just rest. -- while doing them. Instead of hearing the clock tick.
We can say, "I can't do it all."
Because as God's beloved children, we don't have to do it all.
Change Some Rules
Rest is radical.
It takes the walls down; We become real, authentic, human, and spiritual.
We become real, vulnerable, open to God and eachother.
Let go of anything and anyone that keeps you from God and His rest for you. Say the harder "no" to expectations, performing, dysfunctional relationships -- and say "yes" to finding Spiritual Whitespace.
Give yourself permission to rest.
What rules can you change -- for you -- to make Jesus your shepherd -- and not the clock?
Change some rules.
It may not be easy. But, you are not alone. Let's be the radical community moving away from the clock rest so we can live by soul rest with Jesus along you too.
A new chapter is being written. Let's not look back at the clock anymore.
Let's live and rest.
How Can You Say The Lord Is Your Shepherd -- and Not The Clock?
What rules can you change?
What can you let go to say yes to a soul at rest following Jesus ahead?
To do the things you are free to pursue as a beloved rather than a stressed out child of God?
Pull up a chair. Share a comment. Let's encourage and support each other. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
For inspiration and encouragement to explore new ways to renew prayer and intimacy with God, order a copy of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest . This memoir-driven guidebook for rest is for anyone longing to create space in life to draw closer to God, to rest and discover who they can become when rest becomes their heart's home. Learn how a life-long dream unexpectedly launched Bonnie into a debilitating anxiety and painful childhood memoires to discover a better story of rest. Visit TheBonnieGray.com to learn more.
"Whitespace is soul grace. Bonnie Gray ushers weary women into the real possibility." Ann Voskamp, NY Times bestsellng author of One Thousand Gifts
"If you want to hear Jesus speak more tenderly to your soul than ever befrore, this is the book for you." - Lysa TerKeurst, NY Times bestseller author of Unglued
Bonnie Gray is the soulful writer behind FaithBarista.com serving up shots of faith for the daily grind. She is a contributor at DaySpring (in)courage, her work spotighted by Christianity Today and nationally syndicated through McClatchy-Tribune News Services. After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.