Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Breath in. Breath out. Selah.

This morning I got home from my last night of a 3 night work week.  Usually, I'm too exhausted to do more than slide my shoes off and jump under my covers, hiding my head from daylight until it's time to get my daughter from school.  This morning, I got home with more on my mind than time or ability to process my thoughts, and sat down for a few moments to decompress.

I work as a nurse in a role that I love, but that is full of nuances and responsibilities and irritations that few but those in my role fully understand.  It sometimes makes it difficult to decompress after a stressful or bizarre night.  And while my husband tries, it's often too much explaining of the back story of "why's" than it is worth expressing the frustration or oddity.  I especially wanted to share my night with him this morning, but knew that it'd be too much explaining than what it was worth so I sat with two Oreos and a glass of milk and thought about the week.  I came down with the crud that everyone seems to have gotten this past winter season.  So bad was it, that last Friday I called my husband asking him to bring home a certain medicine from the store.  When questioned as to why I needed it, my only gasped response was, " a python...wrapping itself...around my trachea!".  I haven't been this sick in awhile, and at one point, I was breathing so quickly and hard that I had to tell myself to slow it down.  "Breath in.  Breath out.  Selah.  Breath in.  Breath out.  Selah..."  Such has been my mantra this past week.  Sometimes we forget, that the very breath in our lungs, is a gift from God.  I was reminded of that blessed gift with each pained breath last week.

On the heels of having just recovered from the crud, my three day work week began.  It was one of the busiest few days I've had in some time, and it seemed like everyday when I got up and didn't think I'd have enough energy to even drive into work, I'd be met by non-stop flow of patients and work and a need for high attention to detail.  "This is NOT the type of workday I prayed for God!" I reminded Him several times.  And he gently whispered to me, "Breath in.  Breath out.  Selah."  Amazingly, when I did not think I had the strength, or the energy or the mental quickness to deal with what came my way, it seemed to be there.  And this morning, when I should be the most exhausted, I'm overflowing with energy.

As I sat with my Oreos this morning, unwinding, I said the same thing again, "Breath in.  Breath out.  Selah (pause in the presence of God)".  What is it Lord that you wanted to speak to me about this morning?  Much to my surprise it wasn't that he wanted to remind me of the end of my shift, or the unexpected things in the middle of it, or the craziness at the beginning of yesterday.  He reminded me of a text from a friend last week that simply prodded "write" and of a moment I had with one of the physicians last night when she asked me about a key that I had on my ID badge.  I began to explain that our church began a 21 day fast a couple of weeks ago, and at the beginning of it handed out small keys to everyone with a tag attached that said, "ask, seek, knock" (Matt 7:7-11).  One of the messages had been about "open doors", and ended with the challenge of looking at what the doors in 2015 were in our lives and which ones does God want us to walk through and which ones does he want us to close off?  We were challenged to use our keys as reminders of this during the fast.  I placed mine on my work ID as a reminder to myself that I've been missing opportunities with people by anticipating what was next.  For the past 10 years I've looked anxiously for the day when I "no longer had to be a nurse, but could step into doing full time ministry and really reaching people."  All the while missing those in front of me.  God gently reminded me that the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest teachers and most prolific writers of the entire new testament, was a tentmaker.  It hit me in the heart.  God has been asking to see the person in front of me and love them.  So I ended with telling this physician that it's a humility check for myself.  I am here to love people, and meet with them where they are at in some of their most vulnerable moments, and that is my ministry.  She mentioned how that message resonated with her heart, and that she felt similarly with why she still practices medicine.  It was such a wonderful and unexpected exchange, and I would have missed all of it if I hadn't been willing to just sit, and take a moment to breath in. Breath out.  Selah (pause in the presence of God)

What is it that God is wanting to speak to you about today friends?  Grab a couple of Oreos and sit for a minute.  Turn your phone off and try doing this for a couple of minutes.  Close your eyes and focus of taking a deep breath in, a deep breath out, and then pause in God's presence.  He wants your attention.  He wants to speak to you.  Dial down and find that place with Him.

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