For the first time in 9 years, I’m going to have space. Space and time. Both my daughters will attend elementary school from 8:30-3:00 PM.
Already, I’m filling up those future days. I work part time and help coordinate ministry events with my husband. I write novels and design college writing courses on the side. Saturday morning I clean the house. If you read this blog, you know that I keep busy. I’m driven by some unseen force to produce, to achieve, to be recognized. That’s my dark side.
And it’s showing up again as this new school year approaches. I’m already thinking about new projects and new campaigns. I’m wondering what group I can organize, what new courses to teach, and what new novel I’ll conceive.
My husband, the wise Eagle Scout that led me to the still water on our anniversary hike, said this:
“Just because there’s space doesn’t mean you have to fill it.”
I stare at him, mouth agape. Whatever can that mean? I don’t even know what that would look like.
This morning in church, I talk to God about my drive to fill space with as many things as I can. What am I doing? Whose affection am I trying to win? What prize am I racing toward? I ask God to show me how to be led and not driven. I ask God to show me what it would look like to have so much space in a day that I could rest, listen, and respond to my life rather than reacting in a rush of furious energy.
So I’m not filling space this fall. I’ve turned down 3 offers for more work this week. I even said “no” to a teaching offer and a writing project. Cheers! High-fives! I’m going to feed my soul and practice not filling space.
I need space to be led by God and not driven. I’m still not sure what it looks like to slow down and sit in empty space. But whatever it is, it’s a new thing. It will be my less frantic form of flair.