I’m on vacation this week. I always take time off in August. After a busy couple of months at work, I’m feeling fried and ready for some time away. This year, aside from a trip to the mountains this past weekend, I’m enjoying a “staycation” this week. No traveling out of town . . . just time for me and time with my family. I love how being on vacation breaks my routine. It offers a different pace; a different feel to the day.
Right now, I’m sitting at my favorite locally-owned coffee shop, enjoying some space to reflect. A change of location brings new perspectives. Being here allows space for insights I miss in my regular day-to-day settings. I love coffee shops. They’re like a microcosm of our lives. Serious discussions. Laughter. Business meetings. Conversations about new endeavors. Moms with kids. Singles. Couples. Working. Reading. A coffee shop provides a space for people to talk, listen, and be. It’s a shared setting that offers separate, intimate space for all. I so enjoy my time here (and, their iced skim chai latte is the best in town).
A friend and I went out to dinner last week and I told her there’s this space inside me that feels like it’s being emptied. She shared that it’s a space that’s reserved for romantic relationships. It’s one of many spaces within myself that, when taken as a whole, are the essence of who I am. Do you know those spaces I’m talking about? When relationships cease to exist, those spaces are left empty for a time. For a while now, that relationship space inside me has been held solely by one guy in my life. How easy it’s always been for me to jump right back into that space and reach out to him. He’s been the only one I’ve wanted in that romantic relationship space, so naturally, he’s the one I keep going back to when I want to pursue a relationship. Even though I decided to walk away this summer and not look back, I’ve considered breaking the spell several times by reaching out to him. At times, it would be easier just to backslide back into the familiar, even though it isn’t ideal. It fills some of that space that sometimes feels so uncomfortable being empty.
My recent shift from pursuing him to distancing myself from him is changing that space he filled. That space is being repurposed. It’s a place for God now. It’s a space that He wants to fill. It’s a space that’s no longer filled with MY wants and MY desires. The space is being filled with God and me and joy and life-giving relationships. The more that empty space is filled with God’s plan for me, the farther I walk away from that romantic relationship I pursued for so long. The less he consumes my thoughts. The less I want to reach out to him. The less I want to jump back in. It’s hard work. It’s still a struggle. It’s unbelievably freeing.
This isn’t about emptying the space only to quickly fill it up again with another romantic relationship. I don’t want that right now. I’m not looking for anyone and it feels really great. No pressure. No distractions. I canceled my online dating subscription last spring, but still get email updates of new matches who want to get in touch with me. I’m not ready for that. For now, I want God to fill that space. I want Him to show me what that space should look like. I keep jumping into that space without really knowing what He wants for me; without really knowing what should be there.
I get excited about this fresh, empty space that’s soon to be filled. I’m cleaning it out. I’m emptying the nooks and crannies. I’m reflecting and writing though the process. I’m making room for God and His will for my life. Instead of cleaning it up and tidying it up all by myself, I’m allowing God to come in and declutter it with me. He’s polishing it up and making it new. I’m opening myself up to His possibilities for me. I’m opening that space to His love and His desires for my heart. If He has someone down the road that He wants to join in that space, then I’ll know it’s His will for me. But, even if God’s love is all that ever fills that space, it will be more than enough.