Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Life

Have You Breathed Today?

from October 19, 2007
Have You Breathed Today?

As I said in the intro, fall is a particularly busy time for pastors and other church leaders. We often slow down during the summer, and then have a marathon effort to get the fall programs and activities ready to go in September. Then it doesn’t slow down until Christmas, usually! First it’s the start of Sunday school, it’s youth programs, it’s stewardship drives, it’s nominating committees, it’s thanksgiving dinners, budget preparation, advent, Christmas, you get the idea. It is hard to find time to stop and breathe. When I pastored local churches, I had a pattern for my vacation, that I developed after many years of trial and error. One week vacation after Easter (Jan-Easter was also a big crunch time), two weeks in the summer, and one week sometime in October, often Columbus Day weekend. By then I found I really needed a vacation or else I would burn out. Of course when Easter was late, it was a LONG stretch between October and the post-Easter vacation.

The big challenge for us all, though, isn’t necessarily when to schedule vacation time, but how to pause in the midst of the crunch times, and breathe. Rest. Nourish our souls. For some people, Internet devotion sites are wonderful – a few minutes they can do even at work on a daily basis. Others take a segment of time in the morning or evening for prayer and study. Others make a habit of going to the gym, or taking a walk. Different things word for different people.

It’s too easy to say “I’m too busy” to pray, to do devotions, or to take a walk. Yet if we don’t take even a few minutes a day for those things, we end up paying a price later, if not right away. But when we do take the time to breathe – and specifically to breathe in the grace and presence of God, we often find that the day goes better, our stress level is lower, we focus better, and we appreciate life better. What a blessing!

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