White space. How do we fill it well, yet guard against wasting it?
I look around me and I see people running here, there, and everywhere; rushing to meetings, trying to make deadlines, working all hours of the day and night, parental tag-teaming as children are taxied to a variety of lessons, activities, sports practices; some for good reason and others for no good reason at all.
Why do we feel the need to fill in all the white space with a barrage of activities? Is it because we think we might miss something, or we'll feel left out? Maybe we believe if our children aren't in an activity everyday we're depriving them of an opportunity to do something bigger and better?
This kind of thinking only offers exasperation and exhaustion, and leaves our souls spiritually empty.
White space filled with meaningless activities prevent us from spending time with the One who gives our lives meaning and fills us with joy.
We all need to take time-out for some time-in...His presence.
"What if all our running around is only our trying to run away from God -- the great I AM, present in this present moment?" (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts Devotional, page 40)
In all of our running around what if we are teaching our children how to run from God instead of running to God?
So, as we sit down with the family to discuss the white space, the first thing we should do is pray together. Seek His direction by asking God what His desire is for our family this year. How does He want us to spend His sacred gift to us - this gift called time? Involve the children in the discussion. Talk to and listen to them, being very aware of how much each child can handle, and what stresses them out. Evaluate the past year and discuss what changes need to be made to help things run smoother and to be more peaceful.
Here are a few things to think and pray about as we begin filling in the white space of our year:
- Choose biblically based, spiritual activities including worship, discipleship, opportunities to serve in Jesus' Name, and time for building healthy, Christian, life-time friendships.
- Select activities that will help develop talents and abilities (preferably no more than two at a time).
- Carve out space for family time, fun and games, godly teaching, building relationships and staying connected to each other, including dinner together as many times as possible during the week.
- Husbands and wives plan dates to focus on your relationship. There's no greater gift you can give your children than a strong, healthy, godly marriage.
Finally, close with prayer by praying a hedge of protection around the family and the calendar. Guard both well.
Everything we do should be done with a grand awareness that God is present everywhere. And everywhere can be a sacred tabernacle - a time-out for time-in His presence.
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)
Let's don't run from God this year, let's run to Him!