He tells me, My grace is sufficient for you. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)
I was running late. I’m never late. I hate to be late.
My husband was out of town and I was rushing around the house trying to get out the door to work. It had already been a hectic week.
Coffee done. Laundry done. Shower done. Kitchen cleaned. Dog walked. In my mind I was checking off all of the chores that needed to be done.
I am okay, I thought. I can get still get to the office on time.
As I gathered together my belongings to head out the door, I called to my fifteen-year old Shih-tzu, Sophie, Come on, let’s go!
As my eyes scanned the room to find her, I noticed one enormous puddle right in the center of my kitchen.
NO!!!! I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS! I JUST TOOK YOU OUT!
My mood changed completely. In an instant, I went from calm to chaotic, centered to scattered. I was scurrying around, trying to clean the wet spot, disinfect it thoroughly, scold Sophie, and throw all the towels in the washing machine as I ran out the door.
Now, I was late.
My heartbeat started to race, I felt hot and tense inside. I began to think to myself, This is not okay. I am not okay. What am I going to do? I can’t let anyone down. What will my clients think? I am a failure. I can’t even get to work on time.
We all have mornings, moments, even days, when nothing goes as planned. We feel caught off-guard, behind, frustrated. Everything in those moments begins to pull us away from our center. We begin listening to the old voice inside speak to us, not of our belovedness, not of His unmerited, divine assistance toward us, but the voice that speaks of our distinct lack —lack of time management, lack of thought, lack of intelligence, even a lack of genuine goodness, value, capability, and worth.
Whether big or small things, what we do in these moments is of vital importance if we are going to cultivate an environment of emotional abundance for our souls to thrive. There are three ways I’ve found peace in the messes and mishaps of life.
Some might think this sounds silly, unsophisticated. Yet breathing is the place where I prevent my body from going into a physiological state of distress. Breathing allows me to lower my heart rate, quiet my mind, and return home to myself, my center.
My body, mind, and spirit are intrinsically connected. My body is my internal emotional thermostat. I cannot be spiritually at peace if my body is a wreck, tense, or overwhelmed. Neither can I be emotionally at peace if my muscles are rigid with stress. Breathing allows me to monitor and adjust the temperature inside my heart and mind.
Exhale the worry. Release the thoughts that desire to drag you into captivity. Don’t hold onto them. Inhale peace. Let your breath fill all of the strained and shallow spaces in your body. Just breathe. Rest.
When I quiet my heart and mind enough, when I remove the clutter that leaves me scrambling for any external means to visit peace upon my soul, the funniest thing happens — I start listening within, deep inside my heart. And amazingly, I begin to hear.
Last week as I rushed out the door, my heart heard the words I so often need to hear, My grace is sufficient for you.
I felt Him say, Trust me. Lean on me. It’s okay. You are going to be okay.
He spoke to me. He poured His love over me. He breathed peace into my lungs. He will speak His love and peace over you, too! Yet He will never scream. We must be quiet if we are to hear.
That day, all of the stress fell out of my heart and my hands. As I released my agenda for the day, my identity, my fears, everything, I was able to be fully present in the moment. I was free.
I realized my clients didn’t need me to be perfect. They didn’t need me to have it all together. What they needed was for me to be present with them, to sit with them, to listen to them, to be authentic with them.
Let go of whatever it is that you hold in your hands. Whether it is worry, identity, worth, doubt, or longing for love that you are holding, you will never be free while it remains clutched in your palms. Open your hands. Stretch out your fingers and release everything that keeps you trapped by your need to control, to own, to prove. These things will not give you what you need.
What you need to know is that you are exactly where you need to be in this moment. What you need to hear is that you are doing exactly what God desires for you to be doing in this moment. You are loved. Your are worthy. You are okay.
In my imperfect journey, I am learning how to honor my body’s nudgings. I am discovering how to quiet my worried stirrings, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit whisper His tender words of compassion, and release the strivings that at times hold me hostage.
Exhale. Listen. Release.
You can find peace in the messes and mishaps that life inevitably brings. You can find balance in the midst of the problem. You can hear Him as He whispers to you, My grace is sufficient for you.
His grace is sufficient for you.
The winner from last week’s Dance with Jesus book giveaway is Patricia Thomas!!!