The Undeniable Need to Create Space for Ourselves Liz Faught

When did our need for space become an issue of selfishness? Is this my own doing or impart due to society’s expectations?  We are driven and defined by our successes not by the peace we exude, but what we have accomplished.  I have for many years lived by check lists and associated my success and/or worthiness by these lists.  Is it because I am a “stay at home mom” and need to feel accomplished and take the cleanliness and order of my home and children so seriously? Or is it how I am hardwired in general?  I do not know all the answers, but one thing I do know is the intense need for space.  This intensity has grown while I have learned to better manage and breathe through the intensity and cycles of life.  I have the tendency to allow life to control me, circumstances to sway my mood and tasks to overrule love and relationships.  I can become so hyper focused on something that I completely lose myself in the process and therefore neglecting not only myself, but those that I love the most, my husband and children. I am neglectful in the sense that I do not fill my soul up with what is good and holy, creating space to allow clearing of my mind and thus acting out with impatience and focusing on the negativity instead of the joys all around me.  Providing myself space is not selfish, in fact, it is the single most important thing I can do each day.  By doing this, I am filling up my soul to move through the day with grace, presence and intentionality.  I am a better wife, mother, friend, and person in general.  Without creating this time for space, I lose myself completely.
The most recent losing of myself occurred during the move.  I do not want all this to sound negative, so I’ll start with this….. I have developed a prayer life and relationship with the Lord and acknowledge that these are my only sustaining forces.  I am learning to rely on the Lord and look to Him to fulfill my need for peace, love, joy and happiness.  I am learning to let go of my anxiety and truly turn it over to the Lord. I have also developed a love for yoga.  Through practicing yoga, I am able to create space physically thus allowing the flow of energy in the body.  So where does the need for space and the move fit in?  The deeper my relationship and dependency upon the Lord becomes, so does the need for space.  This space that I am referring to is multifaceted. It refers to my need for quiet time to read God’s word, read a devotional, pray, meditate and practice yoga.  I used to think this space was just time for myself that came in the form of an intense workout; however over a period of time, the need for an intense workout has subsided and the need for being in God’s word and prayer has overtaken. I relate the need for this filling of my soul (quiet time spent with God) to starting a new workout routine.  It felt uncomfortable and awkward at first. I didn’t really like it and didn’t want to get up early for it; however, over time, it has become my calming force and grounding for the day. I once was addicted to working out and allowed myself to become grumpy and eaten up with anxiety over not working out.  Now, I realize that I find myself slipping into less graceful behaviors when I do not create this space and spend time alone with the Lord.  Leading up to our move, I have been overwhelmed with managing my mother’s situation and recently spent several days going to many meetings and working relentlessly resolving some much needed issues.  (None of which is completely resolved, but at least at a standstill for a few days.).  With no break in between managing her issues, we began our move.  I am completely grateful we were able to hire help and humbly admitting that there is no way I could possibly do this on my own.  Even with the best of help, I quickly started to sink into my old ways of grumpiness and stress due to the anxiety and stress of moving.  I was not allowing myself time to create space.
Stress is truly a killer.  It comes like a thief in the night and robs our souls.  I was not a complete lost cause and did talk to the Lord many times during the day and night, but didn’t allow myself the time each day to truly be quiet and spend time with the Lord. I also did not allow time to practice yoga. Thus, I denied myself the opportunity to create space for myself and others.  Ultimately, denying my soul love, peace, joy, patience, etc…. The Lord provided me the strength to preserve, but I allowed anxiety and stress to take over my body.  My body quickly tightened up, chronic pain returned, digestive issues resumed, and I forgot how to breathe and move with grace. I became short with my husband and children and just wanted to plow through the day with intensity to achieve my unrealistic goals.
A week later my body is starting to unravel.  Shear exhaustion has set in and my body and mind is saying no to allowing life to control it.  I realize that I did not allow myself time to create space because I had to accomplish the checklists I created.  I had to feed my need for order over allowing myself to feed my need for space.  Although I handled and moved through the week with more grace and patience then I would have in years before, I was humbly reminded of how quickly we can revert back to our old ways.  Lesson is that self care, creating space is not selfish, but rather the foundation to living out a wholesome, healthy, God loving life. My need for this space is imperative to refilling my soul and equipping me for the day.  When I have created space for myself, I allow time for my mind to decompress and energy to flow and “fill my tank” with love.  End result is nothing selfish, it is undeniably selfless to practice self care.  My challenge to you is to start creating space in your life. What does that look like for you?  Life is not an emergency, stop making excuses, start breathing and moving with grace. Take comfort that our God is a God who loves endlessly and satisfies our every need.  Create space to allow the fruits of the Spirit to grow!
Hebrews 4:10 “For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.”
Psalm 62:1 “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.”
Psalm 19:14 “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”