What a strange time we live in. Could any one of us have predicted on January 1, 2020 that terms like “quarantine,” “social distancing” and “shelter-in-place” would be part of our regular vocabulary by April 1, 2020?
I, for one, have abandoned all my well-intentioned 2020 New Year’s resolutions under these circumstances.
But no matter how we feel about the stay-at-home orders imposed, there’s one thing we all have to admit: Our collective pace of life has slowed to a crawl. Most of our extra-curricular commitments have evaporated from our hyper-scheduled schedules. My April monthly calendar looks like someone played a manic game of tic tac toe on it, with the O’s being a no-show and the X’s winning by a massive margin. And now that crisis homeschooling is coming to an end for most parents, the calendar gets even more spacious.
Whether we wanted it or not, if we are not front-line workers, we probably have newfound white space.
Are you familiar with the term white space? Check this out from my book, Praying with a Pen: [White space is a concept I learned during my marketing and advertising career. It means advertisers shouldn’t cram a print ad with all kinds of pictures and information. They need to leave room for the readers’ eyes to move freely so they can absorb the information more readily. Our brains don’t respond well when the content is too dense and too complex. Ad designers need to intentionally create “white space” in the ad where no content exists in order for the advertising to be most effective.
We human beings need white space too—spiritual white space. Intentional breaks and gaps and pauses in our day, every day, to turn to heaven and talk to our God in order to grow in our spiritual life. Our lives need white space. Our brains need white space. Our souls need white space. ]
How long has it been since you’ve given your soul some white space? Now may be the perfect opportunity. Resist the culture’s cry to completely fill your quarantine down time with projects, puzzles, or pedicures! There’s nothing wrong with any of those, of course—they are on my list too (the Good Lord knows what shape my winter feet and super-washed nails are in!).
But, epically funny memes aside, we now we have an unprecedented opportunity to carve out more time for prayer. To be still with our God.
We did not choose this situation. It has been thrust upon us. It’s unsettling, disorienting, and for some, seriously hazardous. What better time to increase our prayer life? And then years from now, when you look back on this era of quarantine, you can say you used the unexpected time given to you in the best way possible: To draw nearer to God.
Quarantine white space can be a blessing in disguise. Don’t fill it. Still it.