In my college publication design class we learned about the importance of white space. If there’s too much text on a page and not enough white space, readers will skim or not read an article altogether. Too much text is intimidating. Designing the page with a healthy amount of white space makes it more appealing to the eyes of readers.
The principle of white space isn’t just for designing a page; we need white space in our lives. We need it in our schedules, in our homes and in our hearts.
Last year when Lila went to kindergarten I thought that I’d have so much extra time on my hands. But I quickly became over-scheduled and overextended. Why? Because I took on too much: being class mom, being a Girl Scout leader and Cookie Mom, attending Bible study, church ministry and MOPS. All of these things are good things, many of them great things. But too many awesome things at one time left me rushing and stressed because I didn’t have enough white space in my life.
White space allows spontaneity to happen. White space allows us to rest and refuel. White space encourages us to live in the present. When we have too much on the calendar we’re always thinking about the next thing instead of today.
We have to protect the white space in our lives. We have to make it a priority. We have to learn to say no, sometimes even when our heart says yes. We have to continually examine the amount of white space in our life.
This is hard for me because I never want to miss out on anything and if I’m honest, I love being busy and always have. But I know that my soul needs white space.
I’m learning to protect my family’s white space because we need it. One of my favorite things is when we have a Saturday that is both productive and restful. This usually only happens when the day is full of white space, with nothing planned or scheduled. We’ll usually tackle some home projects and have time for fun. When these wonderful Saturdays happen, Will and I both tell each other that we need more of them.
I’m trying to protect this school year to have time with my little guy. Next year he’ll be in preschool. On the one hand, I’ll enjoy some regular alone time, but on the other, things will never be the same. I realize that my time with him is precious and limited and I want to say yes to that. I want to have enough white space in my schedule so that I can enjoy him.
I’m learning to say no to things, a lot of them things I want to do. I so often have the heart to participate and the heart to help, but don’t always have the time. I realize that for now I must say no to some things. Maybe in a different season I’ll be able to say yes.
As we enter the holiday season, I’m going to make white space a priority. I love all of the invitations and happenings during this time of year. But I want to leave room for spontaneity and creativity, for rest and reflection on what truly matters.
Will you join me?
For a great read on making wise choices, I highly recommend Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book The Best Yes. I finished it a few weeks ago and have already turned back to it a few times when making decisions.
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