Mar 14, 2019

Holding My Breath While Trying To Breathe

There were five of them sitting around the table today. All of them looked retired and able to slowly sip their coffees as they seemed delighted in each other's company.

"I want you to know that you have always been a good neighbor and friend and I am going to miss you...” one of them said to another and was met with a warm smile.

"So when did you sell your house?" another man asked and then waited to hear of the process of selling his house that he had lived in for a long time.

"Do you have any plans for what you are going to do with the snow?"; another friend chided, inquiring as to whether he was planning on taking the snow with him to his new home. 

Laughter filled the coffee shop as each gave their opinion as to how to get rid of the snow and other items that he didn't plan on taking with him when he moved.

In time, the conversation turned to medical issues and tests and blood pressure revealing that they were much older than I.

They were also much more relaxed than I as they seemed in no hurry to finish their coffee and "do some real work..."

I'm sixty one years old this year. Slowly, methodically I transition into the next phase of life; whatever that means...

It was always my understanding that as one gets older it would be easier to relax and yet to come up to the coffee shop today took a lot of effort.

My plan was to come up here yesterday; and yet my day was soon filled with the tyranny of the urgent, and quickly the day was over.

So today I got up, showered, took time to read my Bible and several devotionals for the day before heading out the door. 

But, before I could actually leave, several attempts to grab my time came up as I wrestled to get out of the house with as much effort as getting an overweight lady into a pair of size small pantyhose!

I received multiple texts from multiple people seeking my attention and response. And with each response, another text would come in response to my response, keeping the conversation going.

And, when not responding to the texts, phone calls and emails would also "take-a-number" and seek my attention.

As I ponder the "interruptions", I speak to God that it is a nice 'problem' to have so many friends who want to talk. In this world of individuals, I so blessed to have the 'problem' of so many who would like to talk. I am a rich man.

But, as I tried to get to my task of heading out the door, I found myself actually having to give myself permission to stop and to rest and to slow down. And no amount of justifying that I needed to leave and get some writing done was working.

You see, I have a very large office in my home and with Cathy gone for the day, I really have no reason that I can't get work done at home. In fact, while sitting here a neighbor came in and chided; "Ain't you got nothing to do?" referring to me sitting and drinking coffee.

I showed him my IPad and explained that I was working.

The main reason that I come up to work here one day a week (rather than working at home) is so that on days when I am not meeting with individuals or couples for counseling, I don't go stir crazy. The noise of the coffee shop keeps me reminded on these long winter days that I am not alone in this world.

Coffee shops aren't just about coffee; we always have an ample supply at home. No, they are places to sit and ponder and dream and write and socialize.

But I digress as I once again slow myself down and enjoy the environment which I am in.

Why, oh why, is it so hard to slow down? Possibly because I am trying to do so in my own effort; using all of my own methods. I was trying to hold my breath while trying to breathe; and it wasn't working.

Something had to give...I thought as I sat and eaves-dropped on the table across the room from me. These men seemed to be in no hurry to go anywhere; geographically or even in conversation.

It is on days like these that I realize the futility of trying to do things on my own; after all that is why I am sitting in a noisy, crowded room instead of sitting at home alone.

I realize just how much I need the LORD to direct my steps. And to lead me. And to complete the work that He started. And everything in between today and perfection.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.” (Psalms 37:23)

Once again I realize that the LORD isn't asking me to change anything but trying to be my own lord. He wants me to stop and to pause awhile and KNOW that He is God. He is LORD, He is in control.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalms 46:10)

Once again I am reminded that this walk or journey that I am on is about trusting Him more; which is something that I need to rely on Him to do. I need to believe that He will increase my trust in Him. 

“Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalms 37:5 NKJV)

He will bring about change in my life as He leads me through opportunities for me to see that I really can trust Him. He is trustworthy and can be relied on. He faithfully shows me that He is faithful.

I can stop trying to hold my breath as I try to get through my day and allow Him to be the very breath that fills my lungs. 

“For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” (Acts 17:28)

And so I stopped; even paused what I was writing, and listened and talked with people who crossed my path as I slowly drank my coffee as I stopped trying to be the LORD of my life today.

So where are you at today, my friend? Do you know Him as your Savior? That's really where it all starts. Today is the day of salvation to all who call upon the Name of Jesus.

He simply wants you to acknowledge (confess) your wrong doing (sins) and admit your need to surrender to Him. He died and was buried and rose again to pay for your sins (and mine). It is a free gift to you that cost Him His very life.

He wants you to come to Him TODAY.

And to you who already are a follower of Jesus; resting totally on the completed work of His death, burial, and resurrection: Have you once again surrendered your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? 

Or have you once again tried to take control? My exhortation is for you to stop trying to hold your breath and to really allow Him to be your breath.

“You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.” (Psalms 104:29)

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

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