I’ve been holding my breath for the past several years.
I realize that tonight, just minutes away from the clock pushing us forward into 2015, that I haven’t been breathing very well, spiritually and emotionally for a long time.
It’s left me feeling a bit dry and depleted and looking pale figuratively speaking of course. And as I’ve been contemplating what my ONE WORD for 2015 should be, I’ve decided, it will be BREATHE.
Breathing is an automatic response that we rarely think about.
Each breath is a reminder that we are alive.
Each breath is a sign that life moves forward whether we will it or not.
There is pain so tumultuous at times that it feels as though we can barely take a breath. And that certainly has been me holding my breath through the uncertainties and winding roads of life instead of releasing and resting. To my detriment, my melancholy temperament kicks in and it keeps me from breathing.
I’ve had moments when I’ve taken some deep breaths along the journey and exhaled, but for the most part the ruts and rough places on the path have caught my breath so much so that I forgot how to breathe. You know that feeling when something catches you by surprise and you take a sharp breath in and then let out a panicky scream? It’s a reaction with a rush of adrenaline, like having to come to a screeching stop because I’ve almost hit someone in a parking lot or watching a movie and a scary part jumps across the screen. But after an episode of holding your breath, we are supposed to keep breathing, not holding it in. Try it the next time and see how long it takes you to actually breathe normally again.
The past few years as I’ve found myself climbing up craggy hillsides and facing fierce storms, at times I’ve forgotten to breathe, I’ve just held it in until I’m blue. Yes, blue spiritually and emotionally from holding on too long. I am reluctant to say, but have to confess, it has set me back and eroded my ability to trust in the one who gives me breath. God. My Jesus, the one I’ve loved since I was a small child. Life has just seemed to pile up in heaps and I am out of practice exhaling and letting go consistently. I think another word for letting go is surrender. Ouch!
God reminded me of it this past summer when I spent time alone with him for several days. He whispered, “Let it go, so you can grow.” The “it” was the things I was trying to fix and was failing miserably because I forgot something very important. I am not God, it’s not my job to fix, only to be faithful and follow.
As I walk into a New Year in just a matter of minutes I am reminding myself of something I recently wrote in my book, Unlocked with a quote from C.S. Lewis, ‘Pain is God’s megaphone to the world.’ Through my pain, I know God wants to speak to me. It is in the exhalation that the hurt, wound, and problems get released.” In other words, when I hold my breath, I black out spiritually and emotionally. I need to breathe.
I was reflecting tonight on the past year and I had an epiphany; letting go and stop trying to fix everything is really learning how to breathe consistently and leaving the rest up to God. The irony of it is that this whole past year I’ve had in my bathroom this picture I’ve posted with the verse: You can be saved by returning to me. You can have rest. You can be strong by being quiet and by trusting me. Isaiah 30:15. I think it’s going to stay put for 2015.
I think I am starting to get it, and I am going to practice my breathing in 2015. So if you see me turning blue please remind me to breathe!