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hope for churches in stress

White Space

A really good friend who knows me demanded to know how I could say “yes” to doing one more thing. “You can’t possibly have time,” he stated. I explained that I did have time because I observe “white space” on my calendar. You ask, “What is white space?”

White space is simply unscheduled blocks of time on a calendar. These calendar spaces are not filled with activities or appointments. Let me say this another way: white space is unscheduled time. Or maybe this works for you: white space is calendar time that is not filled with whatever it is that keeps you busy.

White space is respite from the rat race that life can become, mental health time, time to do “other than” what you normally schedule. Take a nap. Play with your toddler. Walk hand-in-hand with your spouse in the park. Read that new book. White space can be the time we need to do what is important “right now.”

“Right now” can be overwhelming for the person who has squeezed something into every moment of every day of every week. One more thing—an emergency or just an invite to have fun—can simply be too much. White space is the answer.

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

I know Jesus understood white space. White space accommodated his escapes to hang out with the Father. White space, on his walk to the Cross, allowed Jesus to chat with religious leaders, heal the sick, raise the dead, walk through grain fields with his disciples. White space garnished his busy, mission-driven life.

We are all a lot less “together” than Jesus. Maybe you and I need more white space in our lives. Go ahead; get out your eraser (or techno stylus) and make some white space on your calendar.

Les Cool is the lead pastor of Grace Evangelical Congregational Church in Akron (Pa.) and the Kingdom Extension Associate of the Evangelical Congregational Church. This is the first of two posts by Les Cool. To go to the second post, click on "Busy, But Not Hurried."

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