I’m finishing up a week with family at the beach and I find myself in a reflective mood as the week comes to an end and the reality of entering back into the “real world” looms in the near future. A week of rest. A week of numerous belly laughs caused by the antics of my crazy family. A week of walks along the surf. A week of delicious food. A week of reading books and chilling out under the umbrella listening to the hypnotic rhythm of the waves crashing on the beach. A week of being on no clock with no appointments or meetings to run to.
One of the books I was reading was Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness. A book of important encouragement as it feels like these days leading a church is like leading folks through the wilderness. What used to be so familiar has entered a place that feels new and unpredictable. That’s why when I read this section of her book, I just sat a little more comfortably in my chair. Brown was talking about being at a speaking engagement and was lamenting going to a meet and greet before the teaching later that night. That’s when her colleague gave her some wise advice as she skipped the meet and greet that afternoon:
Tonight we will exhale and teach. Now it’s time to inhale. There is the in-breath and there is the out-breath, and it’s easy to believe that we must exhale all the time, without ever inhaling. But the inhale is absolutely essential if you want to continue to exhale.” Dr. Halifax from Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness
Have you ever felt that way? That all you are ever doing is exhaling. That your lungs are constantly deflated and there is nothing left to blow out. Or that you were not protecting your inhale. This week of vacation is like pausing to take the inhale of life. To pay attention to the breath. To hold balance between work and play, stressful thinking and decision making in contrast to laughter and rest. Even Jesus took moments to inhale when he would separate from the crowds and take some time to pray and be quiet.
I hope you have had some time to inhale this summer. In fact, I hope you have figured out a rhythm to your exhaling and inhaling. And when you are feeling spent or poured out that you will recognize what is happening and take some time to inhale. Go for a walk. Make time for a date night. Read a book for fun. Call a friend of family member to just catch up. Take a nap. Set aside a day with no appointments or “to do” lists. Spend some time listening for God’s quiet voice. Letting the thoughts from deep within rise to the surface. Take time to inhale.
The Lord is my shepherd.
I lack nothing.
2 He lets me rest in grassy meadows; (or on sunny beaches)
he leads me to restful waters; (or rhythmic oceans)
Grace and Peace,