“White space is important,” The lecturer emphasized. I thought the goal of a good newsletter was to fill the page full? Yet, the lecturer was telling us that having empty, white space was the key to getting your letter read. He explained that white space gives your eyes some rest and helps them focus better on what you are trying to communicate. It’s a principle that works not only in newsletters but also in life. It’s in the white, empty space of our day that we are free to have solitude with God and allow our dreams a little space to grow.
My husband and I have a tendency to fill our daily pages clear to the edge. Much of what I fill my daily page with are commitments and programs that were never my idea in the first place, yet they are things of value that strengthen the church as a whole. Sometimes I say, “Yes” more than I should. I do want to be the pastor’s wife that thinks “Yes” instead of “No” when asked a favor, especially a favor from my husband. And if there is anyone I want to get alongside and help in life, it’s my husband. There are times that I am so swamped in helping others that my own dreams are being put on hold.
I am married to a guy that seems to get excited about multitudes of ministry opportunities. And I am quick to jump on board with him in his endeavors. Here are a few keys to being an active ministry partner, yet finding enough white space for your individual dreams to grow.
Firstly, share with your husband your true emotional state. If you’re chewing your nails off and pulling your hair out, because of busyness, no one wants to know about it more than your husband. Don’t assume that he notices your thinning hair and bloody nails; he probably doesn’t. It’s your responsibility to be open and share with him how you are doing.
Secondly, share with your husband about your own dreams and goals. Your dreams are something that you are excited about, so talk about them. If you don’t talk about your dreams they will never come to be. Give your husband a chance to be excited with you, and help you attain your dreams. Good communication is foundational to white space living.
“What gets talked about, gets done!” John Maxwell
Block out time
Pull out the calendar and set aside time each week for yourself. Blocking out designated time will empower you to say “No” to some things and “Yes” to other things. Getting it written down on a calendar allows you to tell others that you are not available “hmmm…let me check my schedule, so sorry I have another commitment at that time, would Tuesday work instead?” When I can get a little “Me” time each day, I end up happily giving time away for other people and projects.
Match your gifts
Try to volunteer to ministries that match your natural strengths. If you are being stretched in areas of strength, then you will feel that the ministry is actually honing your skills, moving you closer to your dreams.
Let it Fail
There are times that our husbands and the church congregation need to see a ministry fail. When leading children’s ministry, there was a rare occasion that I posted a sign on the preschool class door, “Sorry, we cannot have class today, due to a shortage of volunteers.” I don’t recommend this being a habit, but the few times that I did it, caught the attention of the Parents and let that we were short handed.
The reality of church work is that some ministry need to be allowed to fail. There will be seasons when you have a volunteer that is excited about a certain ministry, and it flourishes. When that same volunteer moves away the ministry can be left limping along.
Don’t be the solution
My husband once asked a Chinese pastor, “What is the one thing you would want to tell a missionary?” His answer surprised us “That there is only one Savior”. It was his way of saying, don’t come to the field with an attitude that you are the key, Jesus is our solution. It’s a good word for all of us to remember. We are not the answer, Jesus is.
Ladies, we are so much happier with white space, time for rest, for God and our dreams.
“God will teach us to do His will and His good Spirit will lead each of us on level ground.” Psalms 143:10
Edited by Lydia King