Did you know that God knows when we are overwhelmed, tired, and need to just step back and take a breath? He created us, he knows our vulnerable humanity.
He beckons us with his gentleness and mercy.
He invites us to come, come and come again and rest.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”Matthew 11:28-30 (MESSAGE)
My answer to those questions above is, YES, YES, YES!!
When life is overwhelming I just plain want to lie down and sleep for five days. It’s not that I am tired of life, I am tired because of life. Does that make sense? I get myself into these states from cramming more and more when I should be leaving room to breathe. Sometimes it can’t be helped, life piles up but it’s a signal to me that if it starts heaping and I can’t see over the top then I I know I need to stop and breathe. I need to apply what it says in this profound little passage in Matthew.
I need to get away with God and recover my life.
I need to walk with God and work with him instead of always thinking he will love me more if I work for him.
I need to learn from the unforced rhythms of grace. I love this phrase. Unforced rhythms of grace. No striving, no pushing, nothing but leaning in the flow of God’s wonderful grace.
I need to trust God more when life feels heavy. He knows, He sees and He wants to shoulder and carry the burden. I am not alone.
I need to keep company with God moment by moment and not pull away from him when life is overwhelming.
Life is hard, but God is good all the time. I try to remember that when my feelings say life is overwhelming and I am having a hard time managing the ordinary everyday tasks.
When I am tired my emotions play tricks on my mind. They rise up like King Kong larger than life in my world and overtake the rational sensible part of me. I go to pieces and everything looks dark and bleak. It’s the melancholy Eyeore side of me that I wish wouldn’t show up so much. Sigh…. but God knows and He is teaching me so much about what it looks like to lean in and curl up and rest in His loving lap when I struggle.
Here are 5 simple ways to take a breath when life seems overwhelming. This is what I am learning to practice. They aren’t brilliant, just a few simple ways that help me to remember to breathe.
1. Stop what you are doing and literally breathe~sit down, and just take a breath, make a cup of tea, java or hot cider, hot chocolate and take a breath. (If you have wee ones, do your best, you know what works for you and when). Did you know that when we are overly stressed we don’t breathe like we should? We don’t take the deep breaths that can relax us our bodies and give us what we need physically to counter what we are facing. Breathing is critical for everything from our mental health to our metabolism. Try it, next time you are stressed over the top, check to see if you are breathing properly and then take a big gulp of air and BREATHE!
2. Don’t take yourself so seriously and stop thinking about all the things you should be doing instead of just resting in God’s holy presence. Worship music always helps my restless soul to settle, breathe again…sigh
3. Take an inventory of your life and say out loud to God at least three things you can be grateful for right in the overwhelming moment. We can ALWAYS be thankful for something.
4. Write a note of encouragement or call someone who is wrestling with pain and hurt in life. Learn about a cause that incites your passion, interact, research it, learn more, act on it. It will do your heart good to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Reaching out instead of isolating is good for the soul.
5. Remember to “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings. Psalm 116:7 (Message)
Like I said, they aren’t brilliant and maybe your creativity can add a few more. The bottom line is, I hope you are breathing today and remembering how deeply loved you are by God no matter what life is handing out to you today. Ready? One, two, three, BREATHE!