Help. I don’t know how I’m going to do this.
I shot off the 9-1-1 text to one of my closest friends. I’d just returned home from a work trip, and I had only thirty-six hours at home before leaving again for another. Laundry needed to be done, the suitcase re-packed, not to mention children, a husband, and a house in desperate need of TLC. And dinner — what in the world was I going to make for dinner?! Not only was my refrigerator empty, I had no emotional or physical reserves left.
I love what I do. I love being a wife and a mom, and I enjoy meeting new people through my work and ministry. Sharing stories and truth and then seeing the hope reflected off the faces of those who are suffering fill my heart with such life.
But that evening I’d reached the end of my strength, the limit of my ability. I felt myself crumbling. And even the thought of doing laundry or driving to the store made me want to curl up in a corner and disappear.
What kind of wife and mom and woman are you? Clearly you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re a wreck! Exhausted, weary, ready to give up. This proves what everyone already knows: you don’t have what it takes.
Overcome by these voices of inadequacy in my own head, I sent the phone text to someone I considered strong, a warrior. And if ever I needed a warrior to pull me out of this pit, it was now.
Within the hour, she replied. I expected a sermon, maybe a verse and three or four spiritual points.
Instead, she offered three words:
Breathe. Relinquish. Repeat.
Breathe: It’s the intake of oxygen, the in-and-out that happens twelve to twenty times a minute, twenty-four hours a day. Without thought or attention. Without effort.
Breathe. You’re alive, Michele. You’re living — a real flesh-and-blood life. Stop worrying for just one minute and savor it. Breathe.
Relinquish: It’s not about you. In fact, all this has very little to do with you. Relinquish, Michele. You didn’t know what life would look like when you filled your schedule a year ago. But HE did. Let Him handle it. Let Him do His job. He does it much better than you anyway. Just show up and see what He will do. Relinquish.
Repeat: It’s the opportunity to receive a fresh start today and new mercies in the morning. It’s the ability to inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale as many times as needed until the panic recedes, the weariness eases, and you can tackle this moment. No more, no less.
Repeat, Michele. You will have to do this again and again over the next month. But you don’t have to do handle all those days all today. That’s the beauty of one-day-at-a-time living. If you try to tackle more than that at once, you won’t survive. But you can do this moment, this day.
Breathe. Relinquish. Repeat.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? . . .
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Luke 12:25, 31 (NIV)
If you’re at the end of your means, without the resources to do anymore, I have no squeaky-clean sermon points or vacuous platitudes. I give you, instead, the words that rescued me not that long ago, three words that gave me the breath and space to live one day, one inhale at a time:
Breathe. Relinquish. Repeat. As often as necessary.
If you try to tackle more than that at once, you won’t survive. But you can do this moment, this day. -@MicheleCushatt: Click To Tweet