Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Parking Adventure and Book Review: Finding Spiritual Whitespace




This post is part of the "Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour," which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds. To learn more and join us, click here.

My friend Beth and I made plans for dinner last week at a new eatery she suggested. It was trendy, got great reviews and I was looking forward to trying it. But the restaurant is located in a downtown neighborhood with very limited parking. And unless I can park in wide open shopping plaza-like spaces, I get kind of anxious. Actually, I get absurdly anxious.

I’ve never been a confident driver. Unfamiliar destinations and parking decisions can throw me into a tailspin. Sometimes I veto places based solely on whether or not I can park there. And once I get in parking-panic mode, I just keep twirling until I’m all spun out. 

So when I arrived at the restaurant, there wasn’t any parking anywhere. I couldn’t even manage to get by one of the cars parked in the roadway and a man yelled at me for sitting in front of his driveway while I pondered my parking dilemma. 


I wanted to cry and pout and berate myself. I wanted to turn around and go home. Because that’s what I usually do. But I called my friend and asked if we could go somewhere else. With better parking. 

Beth {who is also a very gifted counselor} graciously told me she would meet me at a nearby shopping plaza where I could leave my car and she’d drive us to the restaurant.

I was mad at myself. How could I not find a parking spot? Why do I let these things get me so upset?

But with supreme effort, I decided to keep the self-critical thoughts to a minimum so I could salvage the evening. Although I felt ridiculous, I got in Beth's car and handed her a book I'd brought. Refraining from telling her how idiotic I felt, I tried to laugh and said, “I’m glad I came bearing a gift!”

Beth drove to the restaurant’s tiny parking lot and there it was. Just one open parking space. She pulled in and said wasn’t it good we didn’t have two cars?

As I thought about my reaction, I started to feel encouraged and hopeful. Maybe I made a little imperfect progress. Maybe it can be part of a new story God is writing in my life. Maybe he can take my old broken reactions and mold them into something far more beneficial. To my own soul.



Author Bonnie Gray in her new book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, describes herself feeling torn at times between the story she’s lived and a new, deeper story God is writing with all of the pieces of her life. In the beautiful, moving style readers have come to love on her blog, the Faith Barista, Bonnie proposes inviting God into all of the places of our hearts – into our stress-filled days, the painful memories of our past, our delights and our dreams -- to reclaim life the way God intended it for us.


Just as whitespace is important in art, Bonnie defines spiritual whitespace as a place of soul rest to find balance and beauty. 

Spiritual whitespace makes room in our lives for a deeper relationship with God. 

It’s where he takes all of the pieces of our life story and makes something beautiful out of us.

Bonnie chronicles her personal journey through the sometimes painful memories of her childhood to an eventual place of rest and peace in her soul, while serving up a spiritual whitespace menu of creative ways to spend time with God. 

Each chapter concludes with thought-provoking prompts to have a soul conversation with God, confiding our dreams, desires and disappointments in him. 

On our own soulful journeys with God, he wants to take us deeper, further, forward. 

Not back where we came from, mired in old patterns and ruts. When we yearn for more of God, finding more rest and peace and hope for our souls, he helps us understand our stories in the context of his plan for our lives.



Reading Bonnie’s book, I was reminded that I chose the word freedom for my one word for this year. Because God wants to set my heart free. Free from what entangles. 

Free from anxiety, disappointment, stress and fear. 

Free from expectations and perfectionism. 

To give my soul the freedom to enjoy the creative experiences and adventures of spiritual whitespace that God has for me.

And I think that just might include adventures in parking.

The evening turned out to be enchanting. We sat outside on a rustic deck lit with candles. The food was scrumptious. 




Beth and I ended our dining adventure with a creative new culinary experience. We shared an order of cronuts, croissants shaped like donuts, which were sugar-dusted, drizzled with strawberry sauce and topped with a scoop of bourbon-infused cream.

I think cronuts might become a fixture on my personal whitespace menu. 

Just as long as I can hitch a ride to the restaurant. 


Bonnie Gray is the writer behind FaithBarista.com, who wrote a book about her inspiring heart-breaking journey to find rest, which garnered Publisher's Weekly starred review. I'm taking this journey to find rest and invite you to read it too. You can get a copy here.

7 comments:

  1. When you need some white space, I'll join you anytime for cronuts!

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    1. Would love to share white space moments with you -- and I know you'd love the cronuts!

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  2. Wow! Anxiety has been an ongoing challenge for me lately. This was just what I needed. Thank you!
    Christy

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    1. Christy,
      You have experienced many adventures in parking with me and for that I'm grateful! Thanks for being here friend!

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  3. Beautiful post. I am experiencing the need for that whitespace and this book has come at such a crucial time!

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    1. Tami,
      Agreed - -the book speaks right to my heart. Thanks so much for your encouraging words!

      Delete
  4. Those cronuts look AMAZING!!!!!!!

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