“Spaciousness is always a beginning, a possibility, a potential, a capacity for birth.” –Gerald May
Our spirituality is tragically suffering from a prevalent epidemic in our fast-paced culture: busyness.
We are constantly telling others we are too busy. We are unnecessarily filling our schedules with actions we could cut back on. We say yes to matters we don’t want to commit to.
And you know what’s even more tragic? We take pride in our busyness. We love to tell others how busy we are because it makes our life appear productive and worth something.
But unfortunately, our spirituality is suffering from this.
When we fill our schedules with work, we don’t create the necessary space we need to dwell on matters of our heart and faith. And as I have argued in previous articles, our character is the true source of meaningful success, not what we do.
We need space if we’re continually going to keep what matters at the forefront of everything we do. If we follow the rhythms of our busyness, we’ll end up following the waves of public approval and accepting anything that comes to our attention.
But if we build space into our schedules and lives, we’ll have the necessary room to think, engage, and explore different options, allowing us to discern what’s important.
Our spirituality cannot survive without space in our lives. And by space, I don’t only mean reserving time to read the Bible for your morning devotional. We need continual space—a brief period where we enter into a contemplative state—throughout our day.
We need times—and sometimes even days—to escape the rush of life, and ponder upon the condition of our heart and internal matters. Not only will it keep our faith strong, but it’ll also keep us from making brash decisions, ones that take something away from our loved ones or other important matters of our lives.
So how do you intentionally create space in your life? Here are a couple ideas:
1. Practice saying no.
If you don’t stand up for your time, others will take it from you. People want your time so you can further their cause. But if it’s not something that needs to be done, you can say no.
A few things about saying no: 1) you don’t have to say the word, 2) people can respect a “no” done right, and 3) it’s worth more to value what’s important by saying no than it is to simply say yes to things.
2. Schedule hefty breaks in your day or week.
Bill Gates is known for keeping an empty schedule so he could fill it with activities that matter to him. You might be thinking, “because he’s rich,” but the truth is, your money isn’t tied to how long you spend away from your work. What I mean is, if you are focused and diligent during the time you are working, you can accomplish a lot, and schedule times where you have a couple hours of break.
3. Utilize the morning hours without sacrificing necessary sleep.
Jesus found space early in the morning, when others were sleeping. He would often go out by Himself to pray while it was still dark (Mark 1:35). He did this because He knew how important it was for His faith to have space away from tasks, people, and noise. He used the morning time because these items were at a minimum then.
But it should be noted: waking up early doesn’t mean you forego necessary sleep. You need healthy sleep if you are going to think and operate appropriately throughout the day. You just need to sleep earlier if you can.
4. Shut off your Wi-fi, and turn off your phone.
You’ll be surprised how much your life frees up once you remove yourself from the noise of buzzes and pings. Without this constraint, you have nothing interrupting your times of reflection.
5. Use your email auto-response.
Don’t just use your email auto-response when you’re out of the office. Use it when want time to yourself and can’t be bombarded by tons of emails. Give people an emergency contact in your auto-response, and eliminate emails from disrupting your space.
6. Leave your workplace.
Dare to be unavailable for a bit. Wander off to a café or a quiet place, sit down, and use your time away from work to think about your spiritual state.
7. Work with your spouse or co-worker to create space.
If you truly value the health of your spirituality, then you need a partner who understands that importance as well. If you are married with kids, switch off with your spouse time to watch the kids. In your work, have a co-worker cover for you while you take the time to reflect. Just make sure you have others treasure space in life also.
8. Change your thinking.
You might be thinking, “I’m too busy to have space.” Truth is, you’re not too busy. You’re just not using your time wisely enough.
You might be thinking, “I have to work all the time for money.” You don’t. God always supplies provisions for us, even when we doubt Him. Things never go horribly bad if we take one hour off from work.
You might be thinking, “People won’t let me.” People probably won’t let you because they don’t respect you. You can build respect by valuing your spirituality and giving a graceful no.
You might be thinking, “I’m fine without space.” You’re not. If you don’t reflect on your faith, you won’t use your faith. Create space to keep your heart in check.
Space is something that can easily escape us if we follow the rhythm of busyness. But fight back against the pressure to stay busy. Value your spirituality and character instead, and you’ll form a better success in life.
Photography by Mikaela Hamilton