“The beauty of God’s life-giving breath, is that unlike with physical CPR, He never expects us to breathe on our own. We can rely on His Spirit to revive us, moment by moment, and day by day, no matter the ways that life or the enemy attempts to leave us breathless.”Andrea St. Louis, 40 Days Lighter: A Devotional Journey for Women Determined to Live Free
In the aftermath of months of feeling lost, I experienced something I never expected. I came out of that period sure that so many of the plans, the hopes and dreams I had were essentially dead and gone. For many of us 2020 was a curveball we didn’t see coming, cancelling well-intended plans, disrupting work and school schedules, relationships, and many of our daily routines. I couldn’t fathom how things would return to normal or even get better to some degree.
Yet the more time I began to spend just yielding my everything to God – my past, present and future – the more I realized that a “return to normal” wasn’t what I needed at all. God was about to establish a new normal for my life, with Him at the center. I believe that God allows us to experience seasons that reveal what we’re really made of, that expose what we really have going on inside of us. When life is “normal”, it’s easy to hide the fractured pieces of ourselves behind the right look, wardrobe, job, title or role. It’s easy to hide behind shallow relationships, subtly deflecting whenever a conversation pushes us towards a space of honesty and transparency.
We hide behind “needing our own space”, “just doing me”, not having the “right circle”, and label ourselves “misunderstood”. Now, there are times when these feelings may be very real to us, but if we’re honest, our feelings don’t always tell us the truth. Isolation is an easy way to give ourselves permission to remain stuck or stagnant, to justify poor judgment, to excuse detrimental decisions, and to somehow prove that “nobody was there for us anyway”. However, if I’ve learned anything from that lost season, it’s that this is exactly the mindset the enemy uses to distract us from our purpose, our future, from God’s will, and influence or entice us to make decisions that we otherwise would not make.
This afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend a training session with Dr. Pam Ross, and she said something so rich and appropriate to share right here. She explained to the group that “community safeguards the revelation God has given us.” The problem is not that God has not spoken or does not continue to speak. The problem is that we are human and prone to forgetting the good when life is making us feel bad.
So rather than allow me to “return to normal”, and continue to forget what He had already said about me, God positioned me to go deeper in my relationships that mattered, bringing me out of isolation, increasing the accountability in my life, and that’s when I observed the gift I never expected.
God began to breathe into me, and breathe on my dreams, my plans, and even my daily schedule.
God began to breathe on the gifts I had given up on, the businesses I was ready to let go of, the relationships I thought I had ruined, the friendships I thought had fizzled out. God rescued me, and “brought me out into a spacious place” as David wrote in the Psalm 18:19.
Tonight, be encouraged – God can restore your lifeless hopes and dreams as you allow Him to breathe into you again. You too, can experience the spacious place the psalmist describes, with plenty of room to inhale God’s grace and exhale your discouragement and disappointment.