My Space Devotional started off as a private journey long before it was public. In the summer of 2018, I hit my breaking point. Having always been a “yes” girl who kept busy to the point of unnecessary stress and panic attacks, I felt God speak to me clearly in the middle of a sweaty run… 

“You need space.”

I went home and told my husband what I believe I had heard from God. I told him what I intended to do. He laughed in the most loving way (the kind of laugh that occurs when your wife tells you another one of her crazy stories) and said he would support me in whatever changes I was about to make.

The very next day, I declared I was on a mission to create space in my life. I started noticing just how busy I was and how little breathing room I had.

In the days that followed, I began saying no more to avoid adding anything else to my already overflowing plate. I started looking for things to cut from my schedule and ended up quitting as a small group leader when the session ended. I recognized that even good things could be keeping me from space.

I spent time with God and decided to take a closer look at the life of Jesus in the gospels. There, I noticed things I’d overlooked so many times before.

Jesus took naps. Jesus went off by himself to pray. Jesus didn’t multitask, but instead fulfilled his commitments one at a time.

Suddenly, I realized: space, might actually be holy.

As my life began to change a little bit at a time, I tasted the fruit of obedience. I felt less stressed and genuinely enjoyed life more. When I spent time with a friend, it was less rushed and more meaningful because my mind wasn’t in a million places. During work hours, I was more diligent to stay on task because I knew I wasn’t going to allow myself to work till the wee hours of the morning like I had so many times in the past. I started craving more time with God as it felt less and less like a chore or task to be completed.

God gave me those three words, “You need space,” through the Spirit and I was courageous enough to actually listen for once in my life.

I used to move so fast from one event to the next that even when I quieted myself and prayed for God to bring me clarity, there was too much noise to hear a thing. I used to struggle with staying present and listening well in conversations because my mind was too busy trying to check all of the boxes to ensure I wasn’t forgetting anything. I used to feel anxious and have chest pain. Sometimes I’d wake up and my eye lids would be swollen. One time I went to the doctor and was told I had ulcers on my tongue. My body tried to signal “slow down, you’re on overload” long before I paid any attention to it.

Throughout my space journey, God revealed what healthy, sustainable rhythms of work, play and rest could look like in this life. Most of it wasn’t radical, but it radically changed my life. I decided to pair this transformation with my gift of writing and create a devotional for other people who need space too.

I released a 30 day devotional through an email series and had no idea I would gain thousands of new readers because of how relatable, practical, and relevant it was. God had done something so far beyond me!

Emails came in requesting the devotional in print and I thought, “Why not?!” so I did some research on self-publishing a book, made a cover using Canva for free, and voila! Space Devotional was born.

There was no overthinking it, going into debt, or worrying about the numbers. This devotional ended up allowing me to leave my full time job and become self-employed. As it continued selling far more than I ever anticipated, I decided to use my gift of teaching by creating Space Workshops to bring to people in person.

At these workshops, I helped women learn how to create space for their body. I reminded them that while their mind can lie (‘You’re alright. Push through! Pull an all-nighter to finish the project.) their body cannot lie (eye twitching, stomach pain, heart palpitations, etc.), which is a beautiful gift from God.

I taught attendees how to create rhythms that could work in their own lives.

Saying “no” daily. Recognizing the difference between real rest and numbing out. Determining what their “play” could look like. Blocking out time to be alone with God. Taking naps. Paying attention to what our bodies are trying to tell us. Allowing our feelings to report to us instead of rule us. Creating a weekly practice of honoring the sabbath. 

Then, after I helped them learn how to create more space, I shared with them how to use their space well.

Using your space well might mean spending time in God’s word or journaling or going to a fitness class. It might mean baking or coloring for no other reason than pure unadulterated fun. It also looks like making extra when you cook in order to share with a friend or neighbor.

The most essential part about Space is what it does for our soul. I always tell people, if there’s one reason to fight for space, this is it! 

The enemy will try to keep you busy because if you have space and use it well to connect with God, you will grow and bring your sin into the light and that’s exactly what he doesn’t want.

Sometimes God will use the space you give him to remind you that you are deeply loved and worthy. Other times, a conversation or incident might resurface and you’ll feel convicted to apologize, give grace, or surrender to God. Regardless, space with God is always a worthy investment.

Why am I telling you all of this?

First, because I believe God might have three words for you that will change your life if you obey. Are you listening? Second, because I want you to hear me say over and over again that I used the gifts He’s given me to partner in the work He’d already started. Don’t miss that. I had to be willing to use my gifts of writing and teaching and get over the fear of what anyone might think or say about it. Last, but certainly not least, because I don’t want you to live your life hustling or believing you have to constantly work in order to achieve success. You’re a human being not a human doing. 

Today, I love my space and my rhythms, but I love my people more. That’s the gift of constantly evolving. The pendulum dramatically swung from one side to the other and now it rests somewhere closer to the middle.

Creating space and building sustainable rhythms is great, but it shouldn’t take precedence over people. Don’t make your space all about you. Make it and keep your space because you expect the Spirit to use you in someone’s life each day. Be available, aware, and slow enough to notice what’s happening in the present. Love your people so well it costs you.

All of this came from three words that stopped me in my tracks during a sweaty run outside…

God is everywhere.

God is with you.

God will use you.

Get ready.

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Manda's weekly letters on faith, marriage, motherhood, soul care, social justice - and occasionally the collision of it all. 

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