Could a couple of breaths, drawn long and slow, be a declaration of trust?
I type this from the middle of a bustling office, alongside my day planner marked up and down with scrawly, color-coded to-do lists galore. I help staff Discipleship Training Schools (which are intensive six-month courses run by the organization Youth With A Mission) to help the waves of international students coming through the course to:
- Know God personally.
- Make Him known by practically equipping them to share the love of God wherever they end up next.
It is full, exhausting, rewarding, multi-faceted work, and it requires a lot of you from a lot of angles – emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. And we’re kicking off the beginning of a brand-new school, comprised of a fresh set of students, in…30 minutes!
All that to say, this is a pretty full-on, hectic time of life; opportunities to “stop and breathe” are increasingly scarce.
But this is my second time staffing a school, and from this perspective of “Hey, this isn’t my first time around,” I’m starting to notice a few things about myself… Like the fact that I feel like I’m not allowed to stop and take a breath until every to-do list has been completed and every due date has passed. Anxiety kind of makes me feel like the space around me is shrinking tight and small, with room to do nothing except get the stressor out of the way.
But I recognize that living this way is not a reflection of being loved by a God of peace, who offers me His companionship, wisdom, and comfort in the middle of messes… who actually commands me to cast my anxieties onto Him, because of the way He cares for me (the book of Psalms, chapter 55, verse 22) and tells me that I am supposed come to Him and find rest (the gospel of Matthew, chapter 11, verse 28).
Tangled up in there
Instead, the way I react to stress reflects the belief that my “being okay,” this situation “being okay,” the end result “being okay,” all rest directly and solely on me… And that my worth is somehow also tangled up in there, somewhere. So the stakes feel high, and room to breathe feels low.
But I don’t want to live this way – taking short and shallow breaths every time I feel a little pressure pushing against me, putting my faith to “rest” on my own ability to complete tasks and accomplish things. When Jesus came, he declared that he came to bring ABUNDANT life (the gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 10), and tiny panicked breaths of “I’M NOT OKAY UNTIL THIS HAS PASSED” doesn’t really feel like abundant living, to me.
So practically, what does that mean? What does it look like to make space for God to come and speak the truth of His peace and sovereignty over me, even in the middle of a tornado of craziness?
Maybe, right now, as I’m getting my feet under me in this whole concept of the faith to rest…a couple of breaths, drawn long and slow.
Mayce is a young writer from the USA who loves the adventure of living life alongside Jesus. She is currently living in Australia, where she works as a full-time volunteer with Youth With A Mission, Brisbane.