April 3, 2023
Breathe In God's Love and Breathe Out Your Worries
Lee en español
I grew up in an 800-square-foot duplex in the middle of a busy intersection in California's Silicon Valley. The oldest child in a divorced family, I was the responsible one who didn't want to cause any trouble. Because I was busy making sure everyone else was doing OK, it was easier to ignore my heart and put my needs aside.
I felt invisible because I had no one to share my worries and burdens with.
Do you, too, often pay attention to the needs of others but neglect your own well-being? Like you're the one responsible to pick up the pieces and shoulder the worries of people around you?
If so, you're like me - and most women! Studies show women suffer from burnout more than men. Being overly responsible wearies us with worries.
But for me, in fifth grade, God used an experience to let me know that He cared about me and that my worries weren't invisible to Him: I went on my first hike, at science camp in the mountains! Stepping off the bus, I looked up at the redwood trees and felt peaceful. Even the air smelled different. I could breathe.
Our camp counselors said the big event was the night hike. We gathered at the trailhead after sunset, excited. But everyone fell stone silent once we learned we would be sent hiking solo - in the dark. The counselors sent each of us to hike alone on the trail, staggered five minutes apart, because they wanted us to experience the quiet beauty of a moonlit hike and see beautiful stars twinkle far from the city's light-pollution glare.
We were told to walk quietly, but if we got scared, all we needed to do was call out. Camp counselors stationed at points along the trail would help us.
That night was breathtakingly beautiful. The foliage felt like a soft carpet under my feet. I wasn't afraid. The stars glimmered above.
The deeper I journeyed on the trail, something beautiful and unexpected happened: I began to see in the dark! And I realized that when I knew someone was there to help me, I no longer felt overwhelmed or alone.
I'm reminded of what the psalmist David whispered to God:
"... If I make my bed in the depths, you are there" (Psalm 139:8, NIV).
" ... Your right hand will hold me fast" (Psalm 139:10, NIV).
"Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you" (Psalm 139:12, NIV).
That experience of walking in the dark helped me learn that when we're not able to see what's ahead of us and we feel scared, God's love can light the way. God's love is like a light in the darkness that helps us feel comforted, calmed, and no longer overwhelmed by our worries.
Nothing in life - no stress, confusion or overwhelming troubles - can keep God's goodness from us. God can see us in the dark, and His voice is our light. God's voice of love whispers, Lean into Me. Let Me love you. Rest in Me. As we listen to God, our spiritual eyes adjust, and we begin to see the beauty of the journey we're on.
Does the path in front of you look dark and overwhelming? God's love and His Word can light the way ahead. The God who loves you not only knows the way but intimately knows your way.
One practical way to light up the darkness is to breathe in God's love and breathe out our worries to Him using this soul care tip: Intentionally write down God's promises from Scripture. His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light on our path. (Psalm 119:105) Then use Scripture to pray a "breath prayer," a simple way to pray using the natural rhythm of your breathing and God’s Word. Breath prayers will oxygenate your soul with God's peace and restore calm.
Hand over your problems to Jesus as you pray this breath prayer from 1 Peter 5:7: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
Inhale: I cast all my anxiety on You.
Exhale: Because You care for me.
With each breath you take, name each worry to give it to God in prayer.
Thank You, Jesus, for walking with me, even in the dark. Give me eyes to see You now. Help me breathe in Your loving peace today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Table of Contents
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Want more breath prayers and tips to experience God's peace and spark joy? You'll love reading Bonnie Gray's beautiful new book, Breathe: 21 Days to Stress Less & Restore Chaos to Calm, to learn 21 stressors and 21 solutions. Get a copy for yourself, and bless a friend with this wonderful resource!
Go to Bonnie's Instagram account now to enter to WIN your copy of Breathe! To celebrate her new book, Bonnie will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment on her Instagram. She'll randomly select five winners by Tuesday, April 11, 2023.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 116:7, "Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you." (CSB)
What are your favorite ways to rest and refresh your soul with God? Share with us in the comments!
© 2023 by Bonnie Gray. All rights reserved.