Not long ago I was working in my garden–ruing the fact that in the past I had not left space between my bed of pink yarrow and the green lawn. I got a little lazy and didn’t bother to keep up the edge of the flower bed. Because of that, the lovely pink flowers were intertwined with grass. Plus, the awful weeds from my lawn had crept into the flower foliage choking it to death.
I learned my lesson: I need to keep space between the lawn and the flower bed.
Lately, God has been teaching me that I also need to keep space in my life.
I have been filling it too full with piano teaching, writing projects, speaking engagements. I have overcrowded my calendar. Work has crept into the space for relationships. Commitments have crept into the place for rest. And all of these things are beginning to choke out my joy.
Have you experienced this as well? Our culture has so many wonderful opportunities it is very easy to become over-committed. We say yes to too many things and end up without any space for joy.
I guess this is not a new problem. God told the people of Israel through the prophet Isaiah:
“Here is a place of rest;
let the weary rest here.
This is a place of quiet rest.”
But they would not listen.
God is telling us that we need rest. We need margin. We need boundaries. If we aren’t diligent to keep space in our lives for God, for relationships, for quiet, all the other jangled pieces of our lives will crowd out our joy.
Remember to keep the Sabbath. God created a day for rest because He knew we needed it. In the past year this is one practice that I have tried to be consistent with. On Sunday after church, I relax, read a good book, talk with family members on the phone. It’s my day to recharge.
Find small moments of quiet in your day. Set a timer to go off at different times during the day. When the timer beeps, take a moment to stop what you are doing and reconnect with God. Close your eyes and remember His awesome love for you.
For everything you say yes to, say no to another. This is the one I have to work on. I have said yes to too many things and God has shown me that I have to make some difficult choices to prune back my activities. But I need the space.
God is reminding all of us to make the time to rest–to make space in our lives for Him.
Next step: Choose one of the three simple ways to create space in your life. Make a plan to implement it this week.