Lean In

I wrote this last summer. A song on my playlist kept whispering to me as I was out running on my trail. The thoughts and connections wouldn’t stop, so I did. I stopped along the trail, attempted to catch my breath in a million different ways, and started writing in the notes app on my phone.

I’m sure I looked crazy: swaying back and forth, smiling, nodding at the thoughts, watching the water and other runners pass by, letting the words flow through me. Crazy as I may have looked, I know all my words are for a purpose. So, while they have sat in my phone for months, they needed to gently remind me today… Lean in.

I pray that you are blessed by this today, wherever you are in life.


 

When it all hurts and you want to curl up or just run far, don’t. Don’t. Lean in. As hard and as contrary as that sounds, lean in a little bit more.

You don’t have to lean in so far you lose your way. And you don’t have to lean in so far you forget where you started. And don’t lean in so far you lose yourself.

But sit.

Quietly.

Gently leaning closer. Closer to the problem. Closer to the uncomfortable. Closer to the anxiety. Closer to the fear.

Come closer, let me whisper this to you gently my dear one. It’s some sort of fear that’s making you want to run. Some sort of misunderstanding. Some sort of uneasy. Maybe some sort of hurt you’ve caused. I get it. Fear is anxiety producing. Fear is scary. Fear is hurt. Fear makes us want to run.

But don’t run. It will only chase you harder. I know you want to escape it. I know you want to pretend it’s not there. I know some days you want to pretend you’re stronger than the fear. But it will always creep back in until you learn to sit with it. Until you make friends with it. Until you learn to sit in the deep dark with it and understand each other.

Be cautious in this space too. It’s not okay to spill your hurt on other people. Yes, share it with them. Let them in. Hurting people can hurt other people. Don’t mistreat those close to you out of your pain, but let them in to see it.

It’s okay to show up and be vulnerable. I know that’s scary too. Let safe people in to help you. To hold you. To see you. There is something magical when people see you as you really are.

Some days you may feel hollow. Incapable. Trust those days too. They are for a purpose. The hollow is God emptying out the uncertainty. It’s Him emptying out the demands life has placed on you. It’s Him emptying out the doubts others have filled you with.

Empty it all out.

Let it all go.

Let him take it all.

Be hollow.

So that, the divine can fill you with Himself. He is he absence of fear. And when you’re filled with Him, you’ll have the strength to lean into the fear. You’ll have His strength. His power.

Trust this.

And if you don’t know Him and that light, ask Him to show you. Ask Him to show up for you and be vulnerable with you. Ask Him to be all around you, reminding you, revealing Himself to you, comforting you.

Then watch.

Listen.

Hollow.

Be filled. Lean in. Get comfortable with the fear. Let Him work in the fear. Let Him pour in the love until it fills you up and runs over.

Just let go and lean in.

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A Full Breath Moment

I love these moments. A full breath of air and sensing everything around you. Deeply. Completely. Have you ever had one? That small slice of a moment when you are so completely happy and satisfied, letting go of all the negative and drinking in the air deeply, feeling so so alive right at the top of the breath? I let go, exhaling slowly with a huge smile and a little giggle to myself as the air escapes. Knowing full well that I’ll draw in another deep breath and enjoy this space, this time, this moment, for myself.

I have lived with anxiety. Forever. Sometimes small and nagging. A few times crushing in so badly I can’t even breathe. I hate it. I work hard to ignore it. To overcome it.

I’ve also thought deeply for a long time about what a full measure of life looks like. What it might feel like. To feel free and happy and satisfied. I’m here. In this moment. And right now, that’s enough.

There’s a small space in Ephesians 3 that has long stuck with me. It’s the space that tickled in my brain causing me to ponder the full measure. In the prayer for the Ephesians it speaks of grasping how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. To know this love that surpasses knowledge. That you can’t fully explain or comprehend. But you know. You sense. You feel. A moment that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. The full measure.

How do I know what the full measure is? If I hold out a measuring cup, how full? If I hold out my cupped hands, how full? If I place my life in my cupped hands, what matters? What needs to fall away? What remains? What fills my cup and brings me joy?

Joy.

That’s where I want to live.

Joy in the full measure.

I have hit the reset button on my attitude, my life, so many times. Not to completely reinvent myself. But to empty my hands. To reset my intentions and attitudes. To look for more. To claim more of life. To experience more of life. To find joy in life. To let go of old thoughts, patterns of behavior, ingrained beliefs, and even people.

Things that no longer serve me.

That no longer bring me joy.

I’ve been here several times. In these full breath moments.

Here’s what does it for me. Here’s what fills me to that full measure, full breath moment:
Feeling the fear and anxiety, but doing something new anyway. Pushing myself. Getting to the other side and knowing that I am completely capable. Living through an experie
nce outside of the normal. Feeling a complete sense of satisfaction that I didn’t just survive. I wasn’t drug down. I wasn’t overcome. I stood tall. I pushed. I made a way.

Not in my own power. In His.

And on this other side I feel such a deep sense of gratitude and satisfaction. I wasn’t waiting on someone else to do this for me. To carry me. To fix me. To complete me. I don’t need fixing, I am already completely complete. I can find my own way.

I am His. I am drinking deeply of His grace. Of the joy in life. Of this kairos moment. Not a
moment on a watch or measurable by time. But the fullness of God so incredibly close to the fullness He has created in me.

A full measure, full breath moment.

I know this moment can’t sustain forever. There are peaks and valleys FullSizeRender 5in life. If there weren’t, why would we need to reach for His hand? But in today I will remain here.

There is always more to do. More calling. More required of me. And that will take care of itself in tomorrow. So right now I continue to release the burdens, sense the satisfaction, and trust in His infinite abundance with joyful expectation. And I stand tall with my hands and heart wide open, embracing this full breath moment.

 

Letting Go

This has been a very busy season. Life is rushing by at a fast rate.   The things I’m involved in are all good. Some days leave me completely overwhelmed though. I can get through the list of tasks, I still get my devotions in during the morning, I make it to the gym, I help my kids with homework and get them to their friend’s houses. Sometimes it’s just that one last thing that sets me over the top. Something beyond the day to day “extras” that you must leave margin for.

As I was driving to yet another appointment yesterday I found myself in tears. One of those unexpected situations popped back up and it was just too much weight for me to hold together. The tears spilled out & I immediately felt a sense of relief. Relief not from the tears but because I felt the reminder that Jesus promises to not only be with us, but to carry that burden.

Sometimes I try to hold everything together on my own. I manage the to-do lists, I get things done. But He didn’t ask me to do it all on my own. In that moment, I felt such comfort that I could just pray that to Him, through the tears and all. I could release it all to Him, without controlling it. Just let it go. What comfort to know He is there for me!

“Thank you Lord for carrying this burden for me. It hurts my heart too much to even think about and I don’t understand why this is here today. But I trust that you have a purpose. And I trust that you have a plan. With that, I trust that you will walk me through this, helping me learn. And if this is something you don’t want me to carry, I completely trust that you will carry this or remove it from me. You are so good.”

Today I found myself reflecting on that moment. Reflecting on the experience of that truth. I paused for a moment and praised Him with gratitude. I asked Him to continue to redirect even my thoughts, so I don’t get hung-up in the fear and anxiety that could remain. So I don’t get hung–up in a pattern that serves no purpose and doesn’t glorify Him.

Then He played this song. A song that reminded me to let go. Continually. Here are the lyrics to “Letting Go” from Steffany Gretzinger & Gabriel Wilson of Bethel Music:

You’ve brought me to the end of myself
And this has been the longest road
Just when my hallelujah was tired
You gave me a new song

I’m letting go, I’m letting go
I’m letting go, [and] falling into You

I confess I still get scared sometimes
[but] perfect love comes rushing in
[and] all the lies that screamed inside go silent
The moment You begin

[and] I’m letting go, I’m letting go
I’m letting go, [and] falling into You

You remind me of things forgotten
You unwind me until I’m totally undone
And with Your arms around me
Fear was no match for Your love
And now You’ve won me

What an amazing reminder! The more and more I let go, the deeper and deeper into Him I can fall. I don’t have to be perfect; I don’t have to have it all together or figured out. And when we are consumed by Him there is no room for fear or anxiety. Instead He completely replaces it with a new song, a new perspective, a new hope.

My friends, may you experience His grace and comfort today as you let go of all those things He hasn’t asked you to carry. May you trust in Him completely, letting go and falling deeper into His perfect arms.