Do this exercise with me, just for a moment. Read each of the descriptions below. Now close your eyes and imagine them. Experience them. Feel them.
That first free breath through BOTH nostrils right after the congestion from a head cold dissipates.
Like being boxed in by buzzing, chit-chatting, humming passengers on a crowded elevator going down 10 floors, finally reaching your floor and stepping off.
Ah, into open silence.
Like opening the door and walking away from a heated and lengthy debate over “things that matter”, but not so much as your sanity, and
This. Space. Feels. So. Good.
Like erasing your partially completed, mostly forgotten to-do list from yesterday, where nothing seems to have gone as it should. Making room for a fresh start, a clean slate for a new day.
Like that first gust of air into a newborn baby’s lungs, after months spent in aqueous darkness and increasingly cramped quarters, resulting in a cry that says “I’m here! Make room for me world!”
Like sifting through piles of clothes and clutter and finally bagging it all up and moving it on out – of your space, your home, your life.
Like that burden that lifts a bit more as trusted confidants come to “heave-ho”, alongside you to lighten the load.
Alright, finished imagining?
First, pat yourself on the back because I’m pretty sure you took a moment out of your busy day to just breathe as you envisioned each scene.
Second – did you feeeeel that?!
In case you are unsure what you should have felt, it was the liberating experience of allowing the air to fill your lungs, and then exhaling to release it to the atmosphere. Hopefully, in this small moment you might have taken from the busyness of your jam-packed schedule, you also were able to release a bit of the tension sitting right at the base of your neck, or buried deep within the fibers of your shoulder muscle.
In the same way that pausing to breathe deeply and let go of the stiff positioning of our muscles brings more freedom and flexibility in movement, and in some cases, even greater range of motion, the same is true for the decluttering process.
Clearing up the clutter, turning down the noise, tuning out the distractions, simplifying that schedule all help to release us to think, and be, and do, and breathe.
If you are reading this and saying – I need to feel that feeling, I need to breathe – pause with me, just for a moment, and pray this prayer:
“God, I empty my heart before you. I let these tears fall as a sign of release, of surrender. I’m desperate for more of Your Spirit, more of Your Presence, but right now I have so much clutter, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, that sometimes it can be hard to recognize Your gentle tug on my heartstrings. The unnecessary distractions have made it hard to experience true freedom in Your Presence, becoming instead a prison from which I yearn to escape. Today, I declare liberty, I speak life, I release my cares, casting my burdens on You because You care for me.
Be my guide through this 40 days, and like Christ, let me emerge ready to fulfill my assignment.”
Now go ahead, and BREATHE.