There are nights when you lay your head to rest, feeling like you’ve held your breath all day. Without being cognizant of it, you’ve subjected yourself to a slow emotional and spiritual suffocation – your soul choked off by the cares that come from simply existing.
So much time is spent critiquing your own worth. Have you sucked all the nectar out of this day? Were you a good enough husband, an employee that contributed well to the project and the team, a benevolent and patient father? What if you weren’t a good enough Christian today? Did you fail to communicate grace?
People are watching. Others are succeeding, and you feel that you should be able to as well. You need to do more. Achieve more. Be more.
Consistent, purposeful breathing is essential for life, both physically and spiritually. It seems obvious, right? But I wonder if perhaps you’re not spiritually asthmatic. While the oxygen you need to sustain your soul is all around you, at times I feel as though you’ve been trying to suck it through a stir stick.
So here is my advice to you, self, when you start to turn blue.
First of all, don’t panic. Don’t fret. Running around like a caffeinated squirrel is not going to help. Stop for a second. (If you’re on the freeway, use an off ramp first, then stop for a second.) Seriously, physically, stop.
Now pray. Say something like, “Hi, God. I was just wondering if you’ve got the Earth spinning faster than normal?” His answer will probably be along the lines of, “Hi back! I love you. The Earth is just fine, thanks for asking.” It’s good to be reminded that everything doesn’t go atomic if you take a moment to get your poop in a group. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in the city of Philippi, saying “…Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…”
Doing this often has saved your sanity in the past, remember? It has opened your eyes to the ways that God’s patience and love is manifested all around you. Remember when God spoke to you as you took a moment to seek him during church today? He didn’t ask anything of you at all. He just wanted to remind you that he loves you! And then he helped you enjoy the rumble of that v-twin engine, good conversation, artery-clogging Mexican food, a playground filled with kids, buddies to chuck around a football (even though football has always intimidated you). You got wrapped up in your wife’s smile and the knowledge that your children feel safe and loved in your presence. And you had a nap.
…Each in its time…
I know that life isn’t easy, self, but it doesn’t have to be complicated, okay?