By Sandra Stanley
In the chaotic everyday pace of meetings, events, obligations, carpooling kids, caring for parents, serving others, finding “me time,” running errands, running across town, running myself ragged, and running out of energy . . . I sometimes want to literally “lie down in green pastures,” or sit “beside quiet waters.” (Though I’d settle for just a cup of coffee on the back porch. You too?)
We need breathing room.
Breathing room is the space between your pace and your limit. It’s an unhurried conversation with your best friend. It’s dinner around the table instead of the drive-thru. It’s being able to give generously because you haven’t spent every dollar that you’ve made. Breathing room is an intentionally slower, smaller, reprioritized life.
I know you’d agree that living that way sounds better than the frantic, frazzled feeling of being overcommitted and overwhelmed. And yet, a glance at your to do list or calendar probably shows that—like the rest of us—you struggle to slow down.
So what’s pushing you to live beyond your limits?
It’s hard to recognize and a little bit hard to admit, but for me, it’s fear. I’m afraid of missing out, so I try to squeeze in dinner with the girls even though my day’s been exhausting. I’m afraid of falling behind everyone else, so I browse online for a new car even though mine is perfectly fine. I’m afraid of disappointing people, so I agree to join the committee even though I’m not passionate about the project . . . do these sound familiar?
Fear whispers the lies that we’re being left out and left behind, so we load our calendars and drain our bank accounts. Fear steals our breathing room. But do you know the most repeated command in the entire Bible? Do not be afraid. God tell us that we don’t have to let fear bully us around. He offers us a surprising simple way to overcome it.
Tomorrow we’ll look at the way God has been inviting us (for thousands of years) to bring some breathing room back to our lives. In the meantime, look at your calendar and ask: What’s one thing I agreed to attend just because I was afraid of missing out or disappointing someone by saying no?