About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Sweet Like Jasmine, Whispers of Rest, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul at...

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. You know, Bonnie, you brought back a painful memory of my own. A spelling bee when I was in fourth grade. I was a great speller, and so my class elected me to represent them. I was a shoe-in, they all thought. My word – delicious. My response? “D-E-L-I-C-O-U-S.” Nope. Wrong. And I KNEW that words like that end in “I-ous.” I can still hear the audible groan of my classmates.

    Sometimes I forget that God doesn’t think of me that way. He doesn’t groan when I mess up, or make a mistake. In Him, there is NO condemnation. And He has a purpose for me – a purpose for which HE will give me the courage to accomplish.

    He delights in us, Bonnie – yes, He does!


    • Ugh. Those moments. They’re awful. Yet, here we are, shoulder to shoulder, sisters of Jesus, hearing God’s sweet words together.

      We are his delight! No groans from God! He wraps us up, whispers, “I love you”, and takes us out for ice cream. We are His trophy.

      Sharon, thanks for sharing your beautiful words here. So blessed we’re swinging ours leg here, enjoying a scoop of His love together.

  2. Such true words. By my very nature, I am someone who cannot sit still. I do not have ADD. I have guilt carefully ingrained into my being from my childhood. “Don’t be lazy” was told to me countless times and in countless ways. When my 17yo daughter was born with special needs, I was give n a BIG job. I now had a focus for all of my “un-laziness” tendencies.

    As she got older and things finally got easier, I decided to start a new job — me. I’ve worked very hard to ease up on myself and do what I want for me. On airplanes, they tell you to put your mask on first before helping others. I have to remind myself daily to my my facemask on first. I feel like I am finally in a place where it comes naturally.

    I am finishing up my memoir about our experiences with our special needs daughter. I scrapbook with friends once a month. I paint from time to time. I am not lazy. I help others nearly every hour of every day. But, it took time and effort and lots of practice to get here and find balance.

    Feeding your soul is never a waste of time. Please remember that.

    • Thank you, Kerith. How beautiful you’re opening your heart to welcome others into your journey with your daughter! May God bless your soul and warm your heart as you write. May the words flow.

  3. Bonnie,
    Though our parents did the best they could, they somehow squelch our dreams at times. I am so sorry about the spelling bee…in God’s eyes you ARE a winner! I’m so glad you are making time to pursue your artistic dream and it certainly isn’t a waste of time – you touch so many lives!! I’ve been a closet writer for 50+ years, just recently daring to step out and pursue my dream. What joy it gives me to write – to use my God given talents to glorify God. The hours just fly by when I am engulfed in being a vessel for God’s word. I am also finally learning that doing other things that I love – like going to a ballet, or out to coffee with a friend is not a waste of time. If Jesus needed time away from the throngs to refresh, how much more so do I?? I am a much better person to live with when I take time to do something for myself that I enjoy. I encourage younger women to not take a lifetime, like I did, to learn this. Thank you Bonnie for sharing from your beautiful heart!

  4. My heart dropped and I almost cried when I read your memory from childhood. How I pray my words and careless actions don’t impact my daughters in negative ways.

    Thank you for the reminder that just because we think something is a waste of time does not make it so. Anything we do for God is worth doing.

    • Tristi, I came by your place and read about all your heart is planning for your girls and I see a beautiful mother’s heart. So excited for you all. May God tuck some extra surprises in there just for *you* – His beloved daughter.

  5. Wow, did this ever hit home. I have struggled with this most of my adult life. To be free to enjoy something creative just because I enjoy it is a big struggle. I have painted in the past, then thought, why bother since no one will ever want to hang these? Or writing for my pleasure, without the pressure of writing the next “great” novel or blog or whatever. Which is funny since I write all day at work! But that is “productive.” Oh the battles of the mind and heart in this area. I am reminded of the quote from “Chariots of Fire” when the runner said he felt God’s pleasure when he ran because he enjoyed it. I want to be healed to get to that place!

  6. Thank you so much for your words. I am very busy at work and almost deleted the email. I am SO glad I didn’t. I needed to read your words. Thank you for beautifully painting the picture that I needed for my life today!

    • Terrie,
      I almost deleted it too because as a single mother, homeowner, etc. I don’t have any time to “waste” on myself. I am so glad that Bonnie reminded us to remember He gave us time as a gift.
      Clara Strom

  7. I guess we all have some scars that wounded us young and prevented us from a glorious pursuit of the gifts God gave us… when I was young I loved art — at 10 years old I did a chalk drawing of a collie in a snowstorm… I still have it hanging today. But that was probably the last piece of art I ever drew — see my mom had her own insecurities too. The only time I remember ‘drawing’ together with her was when we colored Easter eggs… and while I struggled to make something beautiful, her eggs were pretty flowers and outdid mine every time. She didn’t mean to, but I felt I was competing with her. I gave up art after that…and later in life she pursued it.
    Then I tried to write — poetry mostly as a young girl, some for ‘occasions’ when I got older… and many have told me to write a book or something because I have a gift for the written word… but what holds me back is the well meaning friends who don’t seem so interested in my spoken word anymore. And when you don’t feel valued for what you have to say, it sure is hard to put anything on paper… but one day… yes, maybe one day.

    • Karen,

      I just wanted you to know that I too have a passion for writing .Please remember that although your friends may seem disinterested there may be an audience out there that could fully appreciate your work. Don’t let others discourage you from what you are passionate about.and hold you back from your dream .


      • Thanks Penny… I will pray about it and hope the passion gets stirred up again!

  8. Bonnie,
    Reading this put me in that place at that time and made me want to reach out and hug that little girl(you) and tell her (you)what a great job and how proud she(you) should be.
    This post is a wonderful reminder to all parent’s to be proud of our children and support them whether they are first or tenth.To try is to achieve.

    I truly hope you are able to complete your book.


  9. God is using all of your words to speak peace and encouragement to my struggling and confused mind. My heart knows the truth – that I don’t have to earn God’s love, but like so many of you I grew up with the message that many of the things I did were unproductive or lazy. I loved to read and explore the woods around my house. I always sensed God’s presence in nature and I still do which is why I am unspeakably grateful for this beautiful wooded piece of land for us to love and cultivate. Working in it has been so healing for me since my 27 year old brother’s death. Today is his birthday and he would be 42. I miss him so much and struggle with the feelings of inadequacy since I am my parents only other child. Harrison was so successful and had such a promising future ahead of him and I feel like my simple life is a disappointment to them. I long to know God’s truest calling for me. I know it is to love and He gives many unexpected opportunities to do that which brings me great joy. But I am constantly worrying that it is not enough. The only thing I know to do is to keep praying, studying His word and trying to do the best I can each day.

  10. Wow. I read your words and I, too, love to paint but rarely ever do it. I took my first painting class in several years a few weeks ago–but it felt like a decadent treat, not something I “could” do consistently. Which I see is around my children.I love sharing together, and only when they are completely busy with activities and friends will I do something for myself (such as the painting class). I will contemplate that.

    I love creating for the fun of creating (for work, too, but also unstructured, simply enjoy the process expressions)…which I do just a bit more now that the kids are older. I also know when I do take the time to create for the process, my work expressions have a wonderful flow as well; to compromise I schedule fun time on my to-do list (which then sometimes feels like “I should”). Thank you for the prompt to reflect!

    • My children are mostly grown, Joy. But I read something once that made a lot of sense to me. As parents we are to model the kinds of lives we want our children to lead. Productive? Yes. But not just that. Fulfilling, joyful, creative. These things add the joy to life and the bible is clear about how much the Lord wants us to be joyful in creation. We are his creation, not just mountains and animals and the earth. Our creative spirits were put inside us by our creator. Don’t let it wither and die. Pass on the creative passions to your children by example. We are meant to serve, but not only as an example of productivity. We need to be an example of a balanced life, based on God. Being creative is what feeds the joy of the Lord.

  11. Bonnie, your words are always a balm for my soul. That fire, that passion, that childlike wonder and joy that the world and all its pressures are always trying to stifle and smother and kill? Your words always rekindle that fire. And tap into my passion. And give me strength to take another deep and honest and full soul-breath…and just worship.

    Thank you.

  12. Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie- I feel like I could have written this myself, ABOUT myself. I have struggled this summer (because I have summers off due to working in a school district) with my free time, and how to use it and not WASTE it, or what would be wasting it in my opinion. I am still working it out – but I am slowly realizing that spending time writing, which is my form of art and creative expression, is not wasting my time. I always think that I have to do something productive to move my or my family’s life forward, or that I need to be doing something that creates income. Ugh. It is hard for me to just wind down and write. I have huge support and encouragement from my husband and children – so the problem is all me. I am not sure when I became so driven – I was not impressed upon, as a young girl, to always do and always get things done. Somehow this became a part of me later in life!

    I too was one of two girls standing at the end of the spelling bee in 6th grade…and the word was “rhythm”. Just like you, I will never forget the word. I spelled it, and added an “n” on the end…and lost the contest. I can’t say that experience had too much of a lasting impact, but when you wrote about it, my jaw was dropping as I read! Also, I work now in the same elementary school where that spelling bee took place, and I could take you and show you exactly where I was standing when I lost…gee, no, didn’t impact me at all…. 🙂

    Thanks for writing this. I was on my way out the door to do errands (see? can’t waste a precious moment. Gotta get this stuff done) but instead dropped everything after I read this post on my phone and practically ran to the laptop to respond. And that is NOT wasting time.

    You wrote precisely what I needed to hear today. Thank you, thank you, thank you Bonnie.

  13. What a beautiful and true post.
    I nearly missed out on going to seminary, because I thought that it would be “selfish” to use money and time to study the bible (which I loved) instead of “being productive” (which I believed the world needed more).
    I am so thankful for the Mary-Martha story which taught me that distinction was a false one, and thankful to you today for the reminder.

    • Bronwyn, thank you for your words. I am struggling with a very similar situation right now. I’ve been accepted into a Christian grad school program for the fall, but it feels so irresponsible to spend time and money on *theory* when I have a practical, professional degree that I am not using. It helps to hear that other people get where I am at, and your story gives me a little more ammunition against the lies of “time wasting”.

      • SarahJane;

        Please go to seminary. You WILL NEVER REGRET IT!!!! I didn’t think I was worthy enough to go because “it’s not practical” unless you are going to be a minister. Seminary is meant to draw us closer to God and when called upon, turn around and share Him with the next person that comes along.

        It will be a challenging journey, but it will also be a glorious one.


  14. Thanks for sharing your story. There were a lot of things you mentioned that reminded me of times I have considered that I should be doing something else instead of following what my heart desires. One thing is writing posts on my blog.
    Your post also made me think of those times I have spoken words to my kids that perhaps could had been to hard at the moment. Like what your Mom said to you.
    When I was in college, my major was psychology. My goal was to become a school counselor. Many people told me this was not the perfect job for me. They thought because I was very emotional, that I would be hurting with all the cases I encounter. Many things kept me from reaching my goals. I know there is still a passion inside of me to help others. There are times I rather sit and listen to a friend share their story with me, then be cleaning up the mess in my kitchen. Those are the time, I just let God work through me. The house mess can be done later, but perhaps there might not be another opportunity for me to talk to that friend.

  15. Thank you, Bonnie. I’ve been a writer for a long time…stealing time when everyone else sleeps to pen a few words for myself…but my writings were never meant to be shared (so I thought). A few years ago, though, I felt called by the Lord to step out and do it in the open with my family. A portion of my day is now set aside for writing, and I no longer feel tooooo much guilt about it. 😉

    Recently, I have felt led to share my writings in a more public way with those He might put into my path. My writings won’t appeal to everyone, but they will to those He leads to find them. My hope is to provide others with His hope in their life.

    Your post is beautiful. It sums up so much of me. My story is different, but it has impacted me in a way similar to how your story impacted you. When He calls us to bring forth the talent, gift or reflection He has nestled within us, so many — including ourselves — are blessed. You have blessed your readers with this post, and I thank you. I also thank you for offering me yet another confirmation that I am traveling the right path…the one He had put before me.

  16. Oh Bonnie! I needed to hear this today. Thank you for speaking from a sorrowful place to encourage each of us.

    It’s SO GOOD to hear your voice today!! Continuing to pray for you (and the book)!


  17. I was blessed to be born into a family that valued music. My Mother discovered that I had a gift when she caught me at age three “practicing” my 9 year old brother’s piano lesson for him while he had snuck outside to play baseball. I picked out tunes by ear as well as having other musicians in our family teach me cute little boogie woogie songs that were popular in 1960.

    I began taking formal piano lessons at age 5. I can’t say that I enjoyed formal training. I just wanted to play and I struggled to practice. However, I learned that there was a benefit to practicing. No, not the benefits which come from being proficient at playing scales, chords and arpeggios. The side benefit was getting out of doing chores. I would slip away from the dinner table while the rest of the family was finishing their meal. That was the time I chose to “work on my piano lesson”, when it was time to clear the table and do the dishes. Because it was such a battle to get me to practice, my mother would not pull me away from the piano to help my siblings with the dishes. There may have been a little resentment on my siblings part but at least my younger sister has told me that she actually learned to enjoy my music, even when I worked on problem passages over and over and over.

    Because of performance anxiety and perhaps largely due to lack of discipline in practicing, I didn’t end up making music my career. However, music is my love, my artistic outlet, and my means of expression in worship. I am a church musician and love the time I get to spend in preparing music for worship services. I know in my heart that my time at the piano is not a waste of time. It is a time of communion with God. Yet, because I am married to a non-musician, I often feel guilty when he comes home from work and I have been at the piano for hours and the house is in disarray, the sink is full of dishes, and I have not accomplished anything in terms of work. Fortunately, he never criticizes even though I am certain that he doesn’t truly understand it. God has been good to me in giving me a husband who lives by the motto “happy wife…happy life”.

  18. Wow Bonnie!! What a HUGE difference in your voice! You are definitely healing and it is coming out. The Son is shining through all the cracks. He will just burst forth. How wonderful it is to hear from you. Yes, writing what you are writing is difficult. It’s not like writing fiction. This is pouring yourself out on paper; sometimes drop by drop. You are very brave and everyone is cheering you on. Keep pressing forward. Victory is yours! You are in my prayers.

  19. Oops. Sorry if that sounded “all about me.” You may have gathered from my reference to 1960 that I am older. I am surmising that you ladies are young moms and yes, I am a young Grandmom. But let me encourage you to use the gifts that God has given you. Take time to work on those gifts. Express yourself through those gifts. Commune with God and give Him glory and praise with your gift. It will make you a better mom and better wife. The time is not wasted. It is redeemed. Keep writing, keep painting, keep singing, dancing, making music, crafting, whatever it is that feeds your soul.

    • Non need for apologies,Melissa. We love having you share “all about you”. 😉 It makes us sisters in Christ. All just children being loved on.

  20. Guilt. Shame. Disappointment. At my age, nearing 60, people who love me wonder why I’ve wasted my ‘brains’ as a stay-at-home mom for so many years. Now all my skills are outdated and It’s hard to compete with young fresh grads looking for jobs also. We made a decision to send our sons to a Christian schools which meant tuition fees and not able to buy our own home, or have vacations. Post-partum depression derailed my abilities and I could only handle one thing at a time. Being a mother. I was an honours student, Deans Honour roll. I look in the mirror and I don’t want to anymore. My life should be glorifying Him. But there’s nothing I see about me that’s glorifying to Him. I’ve always loved writing, reading and art. But anytime I start to write, it hurts.
    I love how God has redeemed your pain and given you joy. It gives me hope.

    • Sita! It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, friend. It is never too late to feed our soul. It’s time for *you*. We are forever little girls in God’s hearts. His beloved daughter. I will soon be starting a weekly writing blog link-up on Faith Barista. 😉 (Thanks for your email.) I’ve taken a break to take care of my book, but can’t wait to have you join! Write, read and do art! 🙂

        • Sita, It is NEVER too late – I have read of many people that accomplished great things in their later years. 60 is still young enough to start anything that you can enjoy, even if it is just for you! Who knows how the Lord will use it. Please don’t deprive us of your particular art! Or at least please don’t deprive yourself! Please start, I know you won’t regret it!

          • Maria, thank you for your encouragement. I wanted to delete as soon as I hit the Publish button, but now am glad I didn’t. Thank you for caring enough to encourage me. (:

    • Sita,
      I am so sorry for your pain. I am a kindred spirit. I stayed at home and raised my children which I will never regret. I took a class now and then never losing hope that someday would come. Finally, I finished my degree and I even have my Master’s now and I’m 56. I am a librarian and I love my job. You can do it!
      I’d like to point out that you wrote on Bonnie’s blog, you shared your heart and touched people. Go for it girl! If you need encouragement email me.

      • Clara, like I just told Maria, perhaps God allowed me to publish my comment just so I could gratefully receive your encouragement. Thank you.(:

  21. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic parent. Not being supported was just the way it was in my house. And then my mom got sick with cancer my senior year in high school and I took care of her most of the time (when I wasn’t in school). She died just before my 18th birthday. I so struggled with self esteem into my 20’s because of this and it as colored my perspective all of my life. I painted up until I graduated from high school and then I just lost it. I haven’t painted in 20 something years. At times, the desire to create creeps up but I always think that it is takes too much time and money to do and their are more important things to accomplish. I think this will be the year to create something. God is leading me in new and fantastic adventures this year and I have the desire to create as an expression of gratitude to him more than ever. Thanks for this post. It inspires me to see the artistic side of me come through more!

    • Wow, Leslee. It’s interesting the see the art stopped right up until that point in your 20’s. And now, you’re feeling this surge of prompting to create. Leslee, do it. Paint. I wanna see it. We all want to see it.

  22. hello there, I love the post. I have had many of these types of painful memories too and was held in bondage by the enemies lies. the one thing that really freed me was the very first verse of genesis. in the beginning, god created…… and the verse 27 in chapter 1 when it said. so God created man in his own image. Since everything that god does and says is perfect and the real truth, I began to look at those verses (and others) as permission for me to create. after all, I am his child, made in his image, why wouldn’t I create. I am doing what comes naturally because god made us after all. when the lies of the world, the church crowd my heart and head I remember that god created and I am sure he enjoyed it and it is ok for me to enjoy it too. I look to god as my real example and it really helps me when I struggle with this too. it is also interesting that in all the different types of creating, we can enjoy ourselves, heal, share glimpses of god and sometimes be fortunate to make a living, sometimes we even help others heal when we encourage them to create. it is a balance. god created, why shouldn’t we! take care ladies..

  23. During 5th and 6th grade, I started taking English riding lessons. They were HARD, and I often cried during and after. But loved horses and riding so much, the pain was nothing compared to the joy. When my instructor told me and my mother that I had an “exceptional seat,” I had no idea what it meant, but I knew it was good. I was getting good at something I had dreamed of as long as I could remember.

    Soon after, my mother told me, “We have to choose between piano lessons and horseback riding lessons.” Turns out “we” did not include me.

  24. Whatever abilities we have such as singing, painting, writing, gardening, I believe God would have us enjoy these gifts He’s given us – for our own pleasure and creativity and to share with others and to also use for Him, in giving back what He’s given us. They are part of who He designed us to be…

  25. I always love to read your entries. They are very encouraging.

    I actually am a fictional writer. I’m not published at all, but I have finished my book (I’m in the editing process). The problem is, sometimes I feel like its a waste of time. Who is going to care about my book? Will it even make a difference to someone? That’s all I want; to make a difference. Also, having been raised improperly in the areas of grammar, I feel hate for my lack of abilities. I’ve been told by numerous older family members that being a writer isn’t worthwhile. I don’t believe that, but at the same time, it does feel like a waste. However, I know nothing else I want to do more than writing.

    I was encouraged as a kid to feed my imagination. My mom allowed me to believe in fairies, unicorns and all sorts of things most kids outgrow. I have never outgrown fairytales and happily ever after. I’m stubborn that way. I feel that regardless of the fantasy in it, there is a lesson in every tale, and if it happens to be about a mermaid then that’s just a bonus.

    I have a strong imagination, and most of the time I am not down about my writing. However, more and more lately, it feels like I’m just playing around and not really writing. Which is frustrating.

    Thanks for always sharing your encouraging thoughts. I really enjoy your blog.

  26. Thank you for sharing your story. It brought me back to my sophomore year in H.S. I ran track back then. I was something I enjoyed so much. My dad decided to drive by the track field on a cold autumn day to see us training but the coach decided to have us run inside instead. When I got home that evening he told I wouldn’t run any more because he did see us outside. I guess he thought I was elsewhere, he never really said. He stated “it’s a waste of time anyway”. Those word stay with way after he past away about a year and a half later. I am now in my 40s and I started to train to do a marathon for 2014. I battle wave of quilt for taking the time to training and taking time away from other things, i.e. church, family or anything else that might seem more important.

    I am praying for God’s guidance in managing my time to training, for family, church work etc. Your story has given me relief thank you.

  27. I love to write. Although it feels like the past several months my creative juices have gone on a vacation and didn’t invite me along. Not sure exactly why.

    I also love to read. Maybe that’s not a talent. I don’t know. But I’m a good reader. I read fast, and I retain what I read. When I was being tested to go into public school in 6th grade after being homeschooled up to that point, I was reading on the level of a high school senior. There are few things that give me greater pleasure than curling up on the couch with a good novel and not coming up for air until I have reached the last page. When I find a good book, my husband knows I will be disappearing into the pages until further notice. What’s funny is he doesn’t resent it. He actually buys me more books!!! If I start a series and love the first book, he will move heaven and earth to get me the rest of the books and encourage me to read them. I’m glad he’s like that. Because when I read, nothing gets done. Laundry piles up. Dishes don’t get washed. It seems like a waste of time on every level imaginable. But still he encourages it. I’m glad I married him. He puts up with my quirks. 🙂

  28. Wow, this is exactly what I have been striving to do this summer. I am a teacher and am blessed with a couple of months each year to rest and refresh before going back to needy preteens! I wanted to make my summer life-giving, but it is hard with pressing things before me and more important people taking my time. I feel guilty if I spend the day creating or reading rather than being more productive. Where is it that we think we have to be productive in our endeavors all the time?

  29. This has sparked some thoughts for me. What *do* I enjoy doing ‘just for fun’? I’m sure God would love it if I would delight in using my creativity, just for fun. As adults we become much too serious. If only we would take time to enjoy, well… those things that we like to do ‘for fun’! Right now it seems as if I don’t give myself permission – there are too many other things I “should” be doing – like cleaning the bathroom, for instance 🙂 . My life feels too full of ‘shoulds’. I need to change that. It’s *not* a waste of time to feed my soul. Far from it! Now I just need to decide what I will do! Exciting!

  30. Moved beyond beyond today Bonnie. My Italian upbringing demanded never sitting when things needed to be done (there was always something in a family of 7!) unless you were sick…and then, you better be dying or there was no excuse! :). I remember as a young girl being indignant about Jesus’ response to Martha – of course, Mary should have been helping her sister!! Now, I just couldn’t being more grateful for His words…His permission…His absolution of doing “nothing” when with Him…because that is the only way it should be. Still struggle with that concept DAILY especially in my marriage – feel like I have to prove my productivity each day. (My feelings….not my husband’s.) Thanks for the reminder that to use ALL of our gifts is to only honor Him. You are grace!

  31. The timing of this post leaves me gobsmacked. I am currently reading The Creative Call, and am struggling so with making the time for my art. I feel pulled in a hundred different directions, but none of them towards what I really want to be doing-writing. Of course I find time to do a lot of other things, important things even. But I wonder if I’m placing too much importance on some of those things. This is very timely food for thought and prayer!

  32. Oh, Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie! How very glad I am that you are fighting for your writer’s voice! And I can’t imagine how many others you will help and encourage as you’ve shared your story here.

    I’ve not been writing much lately–the well has been rather dry. And then I feel guilty about that. So I’ve been taking some time to just be. To drink up the summer and feed my soul. That may look like wasted time, but I see it as a gift.

    • Bonnie, hearing your experience with your mother, really brought home again to me a situation which lasted for years with an aunt who could be caustic, bitter, judgmental, and downright cruel. I suddenly realized today that i can now look at those memories without pain, and still love her in spite of her faults and the pain she inflicted.

      I also am a frustrated ” use to be” writer, who wonders if God will ever use that gift, but I’m alright if he doesn’t. The thing was I used if for myself and my own glory. He is constantly showing me other ways to glorify him with who I am- in Him, and his love and acceptance are unconditional.

  33. I get it, I totally get it. Writing does seem selfish, but when I don’t write, I feel like I’m going to explode.

    My struggle is that “if I can’t win, I won’t play.” If I am not confident of being the best, I tend to give up quickly. The second place trophy should be shiny enough for me, and I have to work hard and just doing MY best, rather than being THE best.

    Lovely running across this today, love that you are a local voice and hopping over to your website to learn more.

  34. This was so encouraging! My childhood was spent in trying to survive the pain and loneliness I felt at the time, all the way into my 20’s which is when I came to faith in Jesus. Healing has come slowly in different areas, and I am so grateful to our Father for His work in my life! It isn’t until now that I have discovered the urge to be creative, to even long for it! Now I just need to get passed the guilt of feeling like it is selfish to take the time from other important things! Your writing has given me permission! I thank the Lord for this too, and I thank you, Bonnie!

  35. Love this…. no I wasn’t encouraged, in fact I was discouraged……… because I did what I thought would “please” my parents, I never picked out what I wanted to try and then eventually quit. When I suggested some stuff, it was no, you will just stop it later anyway.

    I write, you know, it is how we connected in the blog world, but it has been a long time since I wrote out on my blog or shared it is just a struggle sometimes to write in my journal. I have had a hard time starting back to my writing and now I hear those words in my head…….. “it is just one more thing that you quit.”

    BUT reading today, I can do this. I can write anytime anywhere, no matter if it is on my blog. I can write my heart to God in my journals. I can write on my blog if I want. Thank you dear friend. 🙂

    • Katie! I can’t wait to write with you again in our Faith Jams. You must write, girl – ‘cuz your soul speaks loud and clear. You will never quit writing, Katie because writing is your heart speaking. It’s *you*. We can do it together. Just write from where you are. xoxo

  36. So very, very sorry for your Mum to have said that…tears came to my eyes when I read that.

  37. You are so right, Bonnie. He’s the Creator and He is creative. He made us like Him – so why shouldn’t we honor Him by taking time to create? Isn’t that the outflow of who God is through us? The same people that say taking time to paint is a waste would never say that about evangelism. Yet they are all expressions of the same God.

    Just saying. 🙂

  38. Bonnie, I’m so thankful that I read this post today! These words really spoke to me:

    “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
    Luke 10:40-42

    What’s harder is taking the faith to spend time with Jesus, by doing something we enjoy. It may not look or feel right, just like it may not have seemed right for Mary to sit, while so much needed to be done around her.

    When God gave instructions to build the tabernacle where He would dwell, He gave people the gift of artistic design “in all kinds of crafts” — “to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship” to adorn, decorate and make everything. (Ex.31:11)”

    because I never really saw them the way you presented them. I’ve been in limbo about creating my art and writing my story because I didn’t/don’t think that those things are important to anyone, that no one will really care. And like so many other ladies here, I felt like I should be doing something MORE, something BETTER, to glorify God. Like helping less fortunate people, sponsoring a child, ect. I never thought that God wants me to sit with Him and just do things I love to do. Never. This has truly been an awakening for me! Thank you so much for sharing your heart!! God used it for my comfort today!

    Much love,

  39. I don’t really remember being told to explore or not to explore as a child… something I’ll have to ponder.
    But, today a very cool thing has happened, I will try to capture it in words for you…
    I have been asking God to show me how to worship Him in a manner worthy and pleasing to Him. At work today (it’s been really slow) I ventured to a place on the internet where a Christian author discussed Genesis, the Tower of Babel and the breaking up of the continents way back when. This type of thing truly lights me up, I love to see Biblical science!
    Anyway, I read long past my lunch hour, but I still got all of my work done. I was feeling a little guilty and about that time I received an email from the folks over at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Assoc., here is what was interesting about it…
    “The Book of Genesis rolls out God’s sequence of creation and provides the first clue concerning His divine order. God is the God of order. And out of this order comes the need for people to stop and consider all that He has done. This “consideration” is the very act of worship itself”… just as I had been considering, with the text I was reading.
    So, while I battled with the thought of whether or not I had been “wasting time” today… your blog came to my in box… I am glad we serve a merciful and gracious God.
    Thank you for sharing your words with us today … and for letting me share mine 🙂

  40. My heart ached for you, the little-girl Bonnie, who couldn’t relish second place because of a mother’s overly-high expectations. Thank you for sharing the painful story, in order to teach us an important lesson: to reflect God’s artistic imprint, with the gifts, talents, and interests God has given us, is NOT a waste of time!

  41. God’s timing is precious, isn’t it? I have been thinking about potential after finding and reading a book on the subject. It is hard going for me as I remember…
    I changed schools after 4th grade and my world changed in so many ways. School was no longer something I looked forward to now that I had “so much potential” which was always said in such a disappointed tone of voice. I was an Obvious Failure.
    I can’t recall anyone offering guidance or pointing out a direction that “potential” should take. If I wasn’t going to get the best, perfect grades and therefore show that I was appreciative of my opportunities and that I had used this mysterious thing, I failed.
    I found an old report card among Mom’s things and feared to open it. When I did, I had a reality check, I did pretty well and not a failing grade anywhere.
    Like others, I fear that I did not accept or praise my daughter for being her wonderful, amazing, creative, loving self.
    The potential God placed in us and looks forward to seeing worked out in our lives has nothing to do with spelling bees and perfect grades. I think He has such different expectations and perhaps our enjoyment of life and the interests He has placed in us just tops ‘His day’ with excitement!

  42. I feel that way about dance (which I’ve abandoned) and sometimes piano (which I have started doing again!)….but it’s so important to make time for me or I start to die inside……thank you so much for sharing!!

  43. Thank you so much for writing this blog post! It really spoke to me. I have always felt that I had to be productive with my time – always. I guess it came from working as a chartered accountant where we had to account for every 6 minutes of our time!
    I have bought that same mindset to homeschooling my boys and to my life. I have unwritten books inside me bursting to be born. But the thought is there – what if I spend all that time creating these books and it turns out to be a waste of time? So, I have stopped myself from birthing these books – the fear of wasting time won’t let me.
    We all need healing don’t we? well, I need it -I need to know the freedom of creating without the fear of wasting time.
    Thank you

  44. This sure hit a nerve with me Bonnie. It brought a lot of memories back for me too. Too many that I will not elaborate on one or the other. I have had to forgive much as I am sure you have as well.
    I will say this…..as David said….it was good for me that I was afflicted because I have LEARNED to keep your statues ( your word ). Interesting how God uses pain more than joy. At least he has for me.
    I can empathize with you as well on the whole dreaded panic attacks and the vicious cycle that it is. I Thank God though, that he has taught me long and hard how not to be entangled with that again. It is a constant reminding myself of who I really am in him. Once delivered you have to learn how to keep your deliverance. Make no mistake that fear is a spirit and our warfare is not against flesh and blood. Strongholds in the mind have to be dealt with or they will deal with you as I discovered. Keep on keeping on girl…..you may be going thru the fire right now and deep waters, but God has promised to keep you from drowning and you won’t smell of smoke after the fire has done it’s cleansing work.
    If you just wrote a book from all that you have blogged will help people, and it certainly has for many.
    In His Hands,

  45. Oh, that made me SO very sad that your mother told you that the spelling bee was a waste of time. My mother was always so encouraging. She told me regularly that I “could do anything I put my mind to”. I lost her 10 years ago, and really don’t have anyone to encourage me anymore. It’s hard to lose your “encourager”. I struggle with feeling like I am capable of anything. My boss, who also happens to have grown up in church with me, does encourage me often, but it seems like I just blow it off. Thank you for sharing your story. I pray that God uses me just like He sees fit. God bless you.


  46. Oh I needed this today… Sort of like I need air. I’ve been busy doing some blog/writing planning and there is always a voice in the back of my head saying “why bother” no one reads it, it’s not going anywhere” and yet God gave me these words and I can not ignore them… Than you for speaking courage to me today.

  47. Dear Bonnie,
    Your writing touched my heart in so many ways. I came to incourage a few months ago, just in time to participate in the (in)RL meet-up. You have no idea what a blessing this has been for me. You see I am an artist and it has been so hard for me to say that out loud. LOL I even have been blessed to work with children as an art instructor (its been six yrs.) but I have never been able to claim it. For the first two yrs of work I cried everyday. Each time I would ask the Lord why am I here I have nothing to offer. But I have been obedient because even how I got the job shows the hands of God. It is my desire to honor him through my gifts. There has been a couple of ocassions when while cleaning up the classroom I have created some artwork. One was a small bust of Christ with his crown of thorns.(I wasn’t even aware of what I was creating until I was finished) after looking at the clock, school ended at 3pm now it was 6 there in my hands was the finished piece..I too am experiencing healing and I know your words were meant to be read by all of us wounded souls. There isa sense of coming home to ourselves by the way of hearing our story being told and recoginzing his love is greater than the pain we experienced. The story of lost and found and resurrection. Thank you Bonnie and may God continue to guide you.

  48. Thank you so much for posting this, Bonnie, it came at the perfect time for me. I really struggle with the sense of guilt when I spend my time on something that is frivolous. When I was growing up my Mum’s mantra was “the two best gifts from God are our salvation and our ability to work”. Hardly surprising then that she raised three workaholics.
    I struggle with health problems so most of my energy goes into the things I have to do for my home and family. My husband, who also has bad health, doesn’t get out much, and as an extrovert looks to me for his social needs. He tries to understand when I want time to myself, but he feels very lonely when I’m not with him. I feel so selfish when I take time on my own to rest and do a little of the things I love. And I can’t justify this time spiritually. Even though you and all the ladies have commented that doing the things they love can be a time of communion with God, as in the story of Mary, I don’t get it. I was raised with the idea of serving others and putting them first. I feel when I do something that is just for my pleasure that I have not just wasted my time, but I haven’t followed God the way I should. I really am crying out for some me time. I feel so selfish and guilty when I get it, and no matter how much me time I do get, it never feels like enough.
    I was just thinking this morning how nice it would be to discover and pursue what I love, and the thought I had in response was that this was not a Christian way to act. The Bible says we are to seek Him first, and that if we seek after our lives we will lose them but if we lose our life we will find it. So while I can recognise my need and craving for time to pursue my desires, it seems very unchristian.
    Oh boy I really have rambled on here, but I really had a lot to get off my chest. Thanks for listening!

    • Janelle, that’s a very interesting perspective. He also said He would give us the desires of our heart. I don’t know what your husband’s health is but if you go to Denny’s, Bob Evans, and even McDonalds you will find coffee clutches of people who meet routinely just to talk and “fix the world.” Would he be interested in something like that? I don’t know. I was just thinking. You maybe an introvert (gaining energy from alone time) and he maybe an extrovert (gaining energy from people). Opposites attract. Crying for alone time is not selfish – it is a need. You will not be able to take care of those around you if you are not taking care of yourself… I encourage you to find a way to “get alone”, breathe a breath of fresh air and bask in the energizing moment. The reason your alone time is not energizing is because you feel guilty in the moment. Don’t. God made you this way and will make a way for you to get alone with Him. Watch. Taste. and See. the Lord is good.

      • Thanks very much for your comments and encouragement Chris. I’m still not sure how to work through this issue, but I really appreciate your input and thoughts and the time you took to pen them.

  49. I’m a dreamer. I spend my days dreaming about God. JESUS and the Holy Spirit and what the LORD is going to say to me … I wait on HIM … been doing it all my life. I love to play and laugh and giggle and just get things down in a jiffy. I am a proceed and progress person. As quick as a wink. So, I need rest time and basking time on my sofa or sleeping time to rest my mind which goes a million miles per hour.

    When I was young I just played outdoors. Life was fun with no worries nor pressures. Think the nun just told my parents to let me decide on my life as I sought the LORD for answers or direction. If I made an error I was not chastised. I just learnt not to do it the next time by myself. I was brought up as a child to do as I pleased. In err, decide not to do it again or the err would occur again. When I changed and turned, the err was not to be. I was raised to make all my own decisions. From birth. I was hardly told what to do but to seek God and do what my heart felt was right in the sight of God. The work of the Holy Spirit. So, I spent a lot of time outdoors playing and enjoying my life. There were no downs except when i got spanked for being late home. Time would just fly away but thinking about it now it was probably because I was a girl and it was not good to play outdoors far too long all the time. Checking home should have happened but never did. 🙂 I had a happy childhood and teenage years.

  50. Wow, this really brought back my own negative tapes that I’ve collected from my own childhood and allowed to “run” telling me I’m supposed to be there silently, obediently, in the background. “I am of no consequence and must prove myself through all difficulties to everyone, again and again and must ever expect any accolades.”

    Where does this come from? There should be no doubt that it isn’t from our Heavenly Father. Why do we allow ourselves to be restrained in so many ways? We are HEIRS, children of the MOST HIGH, created for HIS PLEASURE. Yet, we are isolated, fragmented, beat down and thrown aside and we sometimes ALLOW ourselves to be. We must dive into G_D’s word and absorb it so that it becomes our automatic weapons of choice when confronted with the enemy’s attempts to thwart the MASTER’S PLAN.

    Here’s what I’ve learned, The PLAN WILL be accomplished, with or without us but WE are INVITED to participate because HE LOVES US AS HE CREATED US!

    We must find time to be ourselves (and when we do we actually bring praise to the Father!) without listening to the naysayers and follow Jesus example or we will miss our happiness and peace here in earth.
    Thank you for this venue where we can release the past and embrace the future and forge today with fruits of the Spirit! Blessed are we and we can walk confidently in HIS LOVE.

  51. I’m sorry for your Mom’s careless words to you…my first thought when I read it was that our mom’s could be good friends…sigh…too bad she didn’t recognize you as the second winner!
    When my children are competitive to be first at something, I reminnd them that they are all winners–and we often have a first winner, a second winner, a third winner, etc. I especially love it when one will wait, allow his brother to finish first, and be happy to be the second winnner!
    As for fun being a waste of time, I fear we forget that we are all children of God and that the most important work of childhood is play. Oh, that we would find great joy in playing, singing, dancing, writing and creating in the image of our loving Creator.
    Thank you for sharing such a tender memory to show us a better way!

  52. Like you I want to write. Have been told I’m very good. But I’m too scared. Scared I’m not good enough. Scared of criticism. Scared of exposure. Probably scared to succeed and what that might mean. Your post touched me deeply. Thank you.

    • I’m proud of you, it took bravery to write those words. Please, take one brave step at a time, Jaime. Be strong and of good courage for the Lord your God is with you. I have a framed picture here by my desk with words pushing me above my fear of not being good enough, arrows of criticism, vulnerability of exposure and even fear of success. It reads, “What we are is God’s gift to us, What we do become is our gift to God.”

      Carpe diem! Soli Dei gloria! …..Seize the day for the glory of God alone.

  53. Hi Bonnie,
    First of all, I never feel it’s a waste of time when I visit you here in bloggy land.
    Today’s post in no exception. The whole last section, “What is Better”, has given me a lot to think about.
    As far as growing up for me – not sure how or why I “learned” it, but I learned to work first and play later. I still struggle with that and am very task oriented. My dad was a perfectionist and wanted me to always do better. He was a great dad and I never doubted his love for me. He was just who he was – probably from something in his childhood. If he was still alive I’d love to ask him about this.
    I tried to temper my own perfectionist tendencies when my boys were growing up by telling them I only needed them to try their best.
    Anyways I hope you have a great day! Keep at that book you’re writing. Just try your best….. and I promise you it won’t be a waste of time.
    Love ya,

  54. Once again Bonnie, the Holy Spirit has used your words to encourage me. Whenever I read one of your posts, I feel an immediate bond, a “sisterhood” with you. The tingle of tears being held back, the quickening of my racing heart…physical signs that I am connecting to you on an emotional, and spiritual level,
    Thank you for this post as a reminder that just because “creativity” can’t be measured in terms of “productivity”, doesn’t mean there is no value.
    I collect quotes. One of the quotes that I have on my studio wall is: “Nothing is a waste of time that adds to the person you are.” (Author unknown)
    Blessings and prayers,

  55. Wow did this ever resonate with me. As a very little girl I was encouraged to play and do artsy things but – you can’t do more than one at a time (I’m ADD and I was multi-tasking even back then). And as I got older, even just a bit older there were ‘more important’ things to do. And now, after years of praying for my Godly purpose and having it confirmed to be in art I try to do some art everyday but hear the voice of my eldest son telling me I do NOTHING of value all day. I just sit around and scrap and do art stuff. I need to get a REAL job. I need to do more around the house (not that anyone else does ANYTHING around this house but me). It is so hard NOT to listen to that voice of discouragement telling me I am constantly only wasting my time.

  56. Oh my. Wow. This hit the nail on the head. Growing up, the message I heard with my ears and saw with my eyes was, “spending time or effort on yourself is not an acceptable use of time”. So even reading a book was thought to be wasting time that I could be doing something productive.
    I am a Martha for sure.
    Hard to shake that. Thank you for this encouragement. I will save this message and read it often. (:

  57. My youngest is now off at college and I finally turned a spare bedroom into my craftroom. I am soooo happy in my craft room. I often just dream about what I will make instead of making it (lol). I thought I would FINALLY have the free time I craved to do things that fed MY soul. Then my work load ratcheted up and now I get home later and usually I am so exhausted by the time I do get home, I don’t have the energy or focus to do what I want and need to do in my craft room. I have been quite unhappy about what my increased work load has done to me. I resent HAVING to cook dinner, or HAVING to pick up the house, or HAVING to spend time with my dear husband because I am not taking care of me. I find myself resenting my job, when I KNOW I should be thankful I have a good job. I am praying that a solution will make itself known to me. I want to “create”, I have the sense something is missing in my life.
    What a balancing act we women do. My priest gave a riveting sermon on Sunday where she talked about Mary and Martha. The thing is without the workers of the world,(the Marthas) the Marys would not have the ability to enjoy their time with Jesus. We need to figure out how we can take from our Martha time to be Marys, without dropping our important contributions as Marthas. Mary wasn’t wrong to set at Jesus’ feet, but Martha wasn’t wrong to see to the comfort of Jesus and his disciples either. Dinner doesn’t make itself!
    Thank-you so much for your insights. I know God uses your words to speak to me. Your writing almost always seems to have been written for ME. However, I like to read other women share how your writing is meaningful for them. Those voices help me feel empowered and encouraged to keep seeking a way to make time for myself in my craft room. It is a good reminder that if our souls are fed, we are better able to feed others. Without food for our souls we can become weak and tired and unable to accomplish whatever task God needs us to do.

  58. Thanks for this! I grew up in a family of extremely creative, artistic, musical people. I don’t remember ever being told I didn’t measure up, I really don’t. I think I have been harder on myself than they ever where. I looked at what I could do, though, and I didn’t think it was good enough. I have always considered myself able to do lots of things ok. In the last 4 months, though, I have gotten back into dance and a little acting. I still feel intimidated by the talent around me, but I am having fun. I think I am crazy to do such a thing at 51, but it has been fun to be out with my new friends performing at some small promotional events leading up to our big performances.

    Keep up your writing! You are a blessing!!!!

  59. Bonnie,

    Sometimes parents mean well, but don’t say or use their words wisely.

    I love to dance, watch TV, cook & walk. I try to make time for one or more of these activities each day. It helps me unwind from work and makes me a better person.

    I don’t feel it is lazy to do something “just for fun”. Like others have said, “If Jesus needed time away from crowds and daily work–then so do we”. Why do you think He created the Sabbath and made Sabbath rest a command? We owe it to ourselves and our family to unwind & relax a bit otherwise we may burn out.

  60. In my district spelling bee, I spelled ‘separate’ s-e-p-e-r-a-t-e. It’s always been hard taking creative ‘me’ time too. But in the past few years I’ve become more comfortable with it, and have been led to write poetry at times. I’ve written on a web page at times, a blog from time to time, and now I’m putting together an Old Testament Bible study. If I don’t write when I need to, I just sort of shrivel up inside. Thank You Lord for the ability to express You in so many ways. Please help me be faithful and gracious in my expression.

    Bonnie, as I read from your heart, I continue to be challenged to be real and go deeper.Thank you for sharing your heart and life with fear and trembling and God’s love. Your writing encourages me.

  61. I have those “waste of time” feelings all too often, and I hate it. I was an avid reader and writer from the time I learned how as a child. Now that I am an adult, it hasn’t changed–but I’m afraid that my writing is just a big waste of time. Growing up, I was given the “do what will make you money” speech all too often, and that is the only reason why I have a huge student loan for a degree I will never use. I was too afraid to go after what I really wanted. So now, even though I am an adult and I am a little more confident, I fight the “waste of time” feelings daily as I struggle with my blog or writing my novel.

    Thanks for sharing this post. I’m glad I found it and I’m glad I’m not alone in this struggle.

  62. after reading the comments, I was wondering does anyone ever create for the sheer joy of creating? it seems god created, for the sheer enjoyment of it. do you think it would be helpful to view creating in this manner rather than a competitive manner of winning and being the best?
    perhaps whatever type of creating you do will heal someone. will that be enough for those who create? look at how god created and how he behaved and you will become free from your bondages of lies. take care janet

  63. Oh Bonnie, I wish we could sit and talk. My experience as a child was different from yours but I was very much into pleasing and not wanting to cause any trouble for my parents. I had seen my mom crying when they found out that I had a congenital heart defect. I thought I was the cause of my mother’s pain. So I tried to be a good girl. However, I was encouraged and felt loved which was a very good thing. But fast forward to me as an adult and sometimes I find I’m still trying to please and not cause trouble. I get distracted by things that come easy to me instead of working on my writing. After all, what if I’m not good enough or no one wants to read what I write. But I’m trying to push through that and ask the Lord to give me the words He wants me to share.

    I encourage you to keep on writing. You have so much to share and you have many of us who want to encourage you on your journey. I’m praying.

    Blessings and love,

  64. Bonnie;
    I think you and I have lived similar lives! I was taught and am still questioned by family as to whether or not what I long to do will provide enough income to sustain me. Can we not live for and in pure joy? Isn’t that why we were created?

    I am so hungry for the Lord and can’t get enough of Him! Yesterday I decided to go back to seminary and pursue a DMin for the joy of sitting with the Lord. I asked Him how I could do this with no money. One of our pastors recently said, “We can’t serve God until we let Him serve us.” I wept when I heard those words. God wants to serve me? Jesus proved that when He washed the disciples’ feet and He still wants to do that today. God wants to serve me in this dream of sitting at His feet. WOW!

    I know there is great need in this world and that as long as we are living there will always be need. I know it is important to serve and that this is something Christ has called us to do, but none of us can meet every need every time one arises. By the power and grace of God I have helped many. Now I am in a place to be like Mary. I am choosing the greater thing – to sit at His feet and get filled up in Him.

    Bonnie, I pray you and your afternoon friend get to go to the museum and experience the more God has for you. Embrace it, praise Him and grin from ear to ear. Life isn’t only about us serving Him, it is also about Him serving us.


  65. Powerful and spot-on. So sad that so many of us feel this way! But so great that you have shared and brought such a valuable perspective to the talents God gives us. I will be sharing this with my creative friends who also struggle to feel justified in the time they spend on the things they love to do. Thank you!

  66. I so needed to read this today. I think about drawing Every. Single. Day. But when was the last time I did anything artistic? I can’t even remember. After work, kids and chores, there never seems to be enough time. I’ve been praying that God will give me more opportunities to share my talents and hopefully he will come through. Years ago, the best friend of my mother in law, asked me to draw a portrait of her granddaughter for her. It took me forever to find the time to get it done and when i was finished it honestly wasn’t my best work. I finally reluctantly gave it to her, thinking she would appreciate it, but not expecting much more of a response than a thank you in return. Instead she started crying when she saw it, too emotional to even say anything and gave me the most crushing and sincerest hug I’ve had in a long time. I want to encourage everyone to share your talents, because even if you think it might be waste of time….it wont be.