I stop. And think. In a split second, this-this-and-that rush through my mind, things that aren’t finished yet or tied neatly with a bow.
I stop and think and then I say, “I am on the inside, but not on the outside.”
She grins, kind, and says, “I know what you mean.”
It was a conversation I’d had just earlier this morning with another strawberry-blond friend, the one who rushes past in those cute Ugg boots, stopping to talk “life” for several precious moments at my table. I’m trying, I tell her, to do one thing at a time. Just one thing, clinging to peace where it matters, remembering why we’re doing any of it anyway.
Why is it such a battle? Why, in this season of beauty and greens and lights and music, does the pressure come crushing, anxiety clenching? Why do I think it must all be done, that nothing less than perfection will do? That it’s never enough, and who can measure “perfect” anyway?
Perhaps the key lies there, “battle.” For who and what opposed the Babe who was born? And who and what opposes Him still? The kingdom of darkness clashes with the kingdom of light, and we are the casualties, you and I, if we’ve fallen asleep.
Do you see it, how comparisons and anxiety, expectation and perfection all come at us, horrific weapons wielded by unseen hands, to distract, to deter, to weaken and fatigue us, the redeemed? Perhaps my friend had it exactly right when she told me this: “This is a hectic time. Just be. Don’t make yourself do, do, and do. Just be…I will pray for you to let yourself just breathe, and not have to row everyone’s boat and yours, too.”
And so I stop. Again. And I breathe. In, out. In, out, taking in Jesus who is really and truly the air of the soul. For I cannot fully give to others if I have not myself received the gift.
To you, my friend: Just be. Don’t make yourself do, do, and do. Let yourself breathe. Take Him in, receiving His life as yours, and then you, too, will have to give.