I wonder if any of you smouldered with annoyance as you read my entry last month on ‘breathing time’.
“It’s easy for her to say,” you thought. “She doesn’t carry the workload I do or face the challenges I face.”
My life is less hectic now than it used to be, but I have been through some intense seasons. Eleven years of home schooling four children while carrying several other responsibilities reminded me, daily, how desperately I needed God’s help. It was those out-of-my-depth times that taught me how vital it was to breathe.
There are chapters in our lives when finding big chunks of time is near impossible. That’s when taking hold of the little moments is a more realistic aim. You’ve probably heard of ‘carpe diem’, which means ‘seize the day’. How about ‘carpe minutam’, a close translation of ‘seize the moment’? A moment is better than nothing and a lot can happen in those precious seconds.
I don’t profess to have everything figured out, but here are a few ways I’ve found helpful in seizing moments of stillness in the midst of hectic times:
- It sounds obvious, but it’s so easy to hold our breath when we’re pushed for time. Just stand still, take ten seconds to breathe deeply and appreciate the oxygen that’s available to you. It’ll help your brain function better too.
- Look out the window. When the walls seem like they’re closing in, gazing beyond them helps bring perspective.
- Venture outside. Stroll around the garden or go for a walk. Immersing ourselves in God’s vast creation reminds us that He is big enough for whatever challenges we’re facing.
- Start a journal. Writing can help clarify our thoughts and fears. It’s also a useful means of recording our journey through life and how God speaks to us.
- Surround yourself with good fuel. When I was a busy mother of three littlies, I kept a Bible next to my breastfeeding chair, stuck favourite quotes on the walls and kept a stash of parenting mags in the toilet. Even a momentary glance often brought fresh hope and enthusiasm for my role.
- Carpe diem. Invest in a day away. Yes – a whole day; a rare treat that can bring deep refreshing. When I was single and worked full-time, I discovered the value of having an ‘adventure with God’ every few months. I’d grab my Bible and journal, jump in my car then drive somewhere I’d never been before. After a long walk through lush bushland or along a golden stretch of sand, I sat with my journal and wrote down any pressing needs or questions. The stillness and solitude quieted me so I could hear God’s gentle whisper.
My husband and I now take separate ‘retreat days’ when we can, with the year’s beginning a particular priority. We reflect on the previous 12 months then ask God for His heart for the year ahead. Everything gets written down and later shared with each other. Those notes become a great source of inspiration as the year unfolds, with all its twists and turns.
Whether for a fleeting interlude or a leisurely ramble, connecting with God is vital for us to function as the women He created us to be. Sometimes that breathing time can be like buried treasure – hard to get to in the midst of all the rubble. Just like treasure, though, the more we have to battle to reach it, the more precious it is when it’s in our grasp.