six things about soul space

This week, I have had more time to myself than usual. In fact, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy more solitude than perhaps ever in my life. I’ve been breathing in the space while, at the same time, grasping for ways to fill it. Isn’t that what we do? My tagline here is ‘a place for your soul to breathe.’ I’ve been thinking about what that means and what it looks like. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Soul space is a fancy way of saying: your invisible self needs some elbow room. That could mean prayer, reflection, Scripture reading, or silence. Or it could also happen in the kitchen or at an easel, in the car or the grocery store. The Bible says we live and move and have our being in him. If he exists in me, then where I go, he goes. Worship isn’t confined to a specific posture or location.

Soul space doesn’t just happen. It is possible to be quiet on the outside but still have a cluttered soul. It is also possible to be outwardly active with a soul that exists in a spacious and enlarged place. We have to choose which path our mind, will, and emotions are going to follow.

Resist the urge to try to force soul space to look a certain way. Things may come up that will disturb, and it may be tempting to think this space is impossible. When interruptions and unexpected things show up , purpose to receive them as part of the process, as a reminder of your humanness, and as an opportunity to set your mind on truth.

In the midst of creating space for your soul to breathe, embrace the unveiling of anxiety. Allow those things that hum under the surface of your everyday activity to rise up from within and offer them to the Holy, Heavenly keeper of all your anxieties. In him is the only safe place.

It takes time to receive space for your soul to breathe. We are so used to moving, reacting, responding and producing. To expect that busy freight train to come to a quick halt is to experience frustration. At the same time, God is not limited by our current life stage. Ask him to miraculously multiply the time you do have in ways that only he can.

Our bodies have to breathe to stay alive, and so does our soul. When I move through my days on auto-pilot, I may be able to survive, but that isn’t the same as living. Surviving says just make it through; living says let’s make it count. Allowing space for your soul to breathe is an invitation to commune with God and one another.


  1. says

    Choose. This has been an enormous theme between Him and me lately. I swore I wasn’t going to comment again today because I didn’t want to fill up empty space just to ‘hear’ myself type, but your words and His through you always resonate so deeply with me that I just couldn’t help it. You always, and I mean always, speak straight to the heart. One more reason of 8,773,527 (or more) than I can’t wait for your book. I pray that He miraculously multiplies your time today in ways that only He can (LOVE that). Blessing!

    • says

      Thank you Lisa! With comments like this one, I would love for you to comment on every post, multiple times. tee, hee! Seriously, thanks for your words. They are encouraging to me this morning.

  2. says

    I don’t comment often although I read your blog all the time.
    This post is a keeper, it’s inspiring and thought provoking. It reminded me that I haven’t been paying enough attention to my soul space lately – I’ve been pushing other things into its spot and that could account for the tense and unsettled feelings of late.
    Today I am listening to my inner voice and just going with the flow.
    Thank you for your words.

  3. says

    Penny just shared with me today that the Israelites did not say the name “Yaweh” as they read the scriptures. That I knew. What I didn’t know, is that instead they would “BREATHE”. Pause. Reflect on His holiness.

    What a beautiful picture of soul space – breathing in all that He is – really too Holy for us to utter His name – and breathing out all the anxieties of the day that in comparison to Him don’t really amount to much.

    Here is to breathing in and out today.
    Here is to soul space.

    Thanks Emily!

  4. says

    Emily, this is a lovely post. I love your thoughts and your ability to weave them together so effortlessly. Thank you for blogging! You’ve gained a new reader today.

  5. says

    Oh Emily that is SO true! My soul hungers for the 1 1/2 quiet hours I have every morning before my family wakes up and starts moving around. I drink in that time with God and without it my days just don’t feel the same…they are missing that eternal beauty that fills me up and helps me to be the loving wife, mom, friend, writer God calls me to be every moment of everyday. I am so grateful for post like this to use as a reflection during my quiet time. I came by earlier and drank it in but forgot to comment till now….thank you for giving our souls a chance to breathe with you today! :-)

  6. says

    So true. I think the invisible self is really the true self – the core of our being. The fingerprint of God within us. Your words are wise: it takes time and don’t force it into a certain way: two facts I forget. I think I can spontaneously fall into God’s arms and instantly feel restored.

  7. says

    “Resisting the urge to try to force soul space to look a certain way”…sigh…guilty!

    Breathing it in and exhaling carefully. Thanks.

  8. says

    I found myself frustrated the other day when I couldn’t find a quiet place for my tea and Bible. Since we just moved from HI to CO and our household goods have not arrived, furniture is few and far between. I was set that my quiet space had to look a certain way ’til I realized that my rest comes from a Who and not a where. I don’t need the “perfect space” to allow Him to de-clutter my soul!

    Thanks for this, Emily. You are so good at putting into words what is in my heart!

  9. says

    How did you know exactly what I needed to read today? My mother has just moved in with me after losing their house in foreclosure. Her husband stayed in the town they lived in to figure out a permanent place for them. She has cancer and the beginning stages of dementia. I’m sure you can read between the lines to know how much soul space I need. : )

  10. says

    Thank you, thank you! What you outline here is like a big drink of cold water for my thirsty, cluttered soul space. I’m coming back to read this again later when I am not also fending off dirty diapers and warring siblings. For someone on a book deadline, you sure have stayed full of wisdom. I want to be like you. Thanks for sorting out your own soul space and sharing your discoveries with us.

  11. says

    Unveiling the anxiety…were you intentionally speaking directly to me? I’ve dealt with anxiety issues since I was a child and hubs is always telling me to turn that anxiety over to God. He’s right. You’re right. I’m so very used to living with anxiety and soul clutter I’m a bit afraid of letting it go…afraid to find out I haven’t really needed it all these years. Thanks for giving me something to think about today.

  12. says

    I don’t know how to say it more eloquently than Ann of Deb – you minister with your heart-words Emily. I have a friend who seems to exude that soul peace. I long for that for my own soul. Thank you for this.

  13. says

    Emily, such beautiful words and heartfelt truths. I particularly drew on the “surviving” vs. “living”. I try to make my life and the lives of my family count everyday…

  14. says

    This is beautiful, Emily. Just what I needed to read tonight. I really learned to create (or find, or rescue from the rubble) my soul-space through yoga, and then through meditation, and honing both of those practices has helped me find and keep the soul space during the more chaotic or busy times that make up most of my life.

    I struggle with prayer. It becomes a list, and the items send me off on mental tangents and soon enough I’ve forgotten that I was praying.

    Meditation has helped me hear God much more clearly, and has helped me identify what it is I need to be praying about. (following through is another story, but I’m working on it.)

    Anyway, great post. So important. I’ve missed being here, reading. I haven’t been prioritizing online time lately, but I’m glad to read your words when I do come by. Thanks for sharing.

  15. says

    I love the unveiling of anxiety statement. Sometimes we just shove it back down and down deal with it, give it away and receive peace in exchange. We have to be quiet for it to surface sometimes…and fear of that keeps us from pursuing quiet.

    Been reflecting on Sabbath lately–this fits so well. Thanks.

  16. says

    finding freedom to let my soul breathe however it needs to on any given day is some of the greatest freedom that God has given me.

  17. says

    I totally needed this reminder to breathe in my soul. And oh, how I long for it and miss sometimes because I’m longing for it instead of breathing it in. Thank you, Emily.

  18. says

    Fabulous reminder, Emily. My life is busy, often chaotic, on the outside, and not much better on the inside. I always, always need to be reminded to slow down and breathe and abide.

  19. says

    Emily, all of this made me just exhale and say, ‘amen!’ especially these lines, “Surviving says just make it through; living says let’s make it count.”
    Your voice in this noisy world is a blessing.

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