Why you don’t always have to look for God (and what you can do instead)

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On my way out the lane today, I stopped. These moments are so fleeting that the heart longs to capture them. To hold them in one’s hands, turning them ’round and ’round for they ease some long-buried ache.

I received a message yesterday in response to my story slide about sitting with me in the dark night of pain. “I have some courage in my pocket that I’ll share.” That’s what I told my readers.

“Sitting in the dark crying. I don’t see any way out.” That’s what she said, the troubled stranger. “I’m scared to even look for God because I’m afraid He’ll take something more away from me, and it feels like I don’t have much left.”

Those words. “I’m scared to look for God.”

How well I knew that place of despair. And so I gave her what I have learned from experience.

“Then don’t look for Him. Just listen to Him breathe and match your breath to His. It takes practice, but stopping and paying attention to the actual breath going in and out of your lungs is trauma work. It helps to get the nervous system unstuck when it’s in fight or flight.”

She was surprised. “No one’s ever told me that I didn’t need to look for God before.”

“It doesn’t mean you give up on Him,” I told her. “(It means that) you don’t have to wear yourself out looking for Him because He knows where you are.”

It was a thought that brought relief. “It took so much pressure off me to read that and think that I didn’t have to (try to) figure out how to see God in these dark circumstances. That I could just breathe instead of trying to make sense (of everything). That He is so close, I could feel His breathing? Maybe He is not ‘doing’ all these hard things to me? Maybe He is sitting with me?

“It gives me a glimmer of hope.”


This is the God who sits with us in the dark, hard places. I have found Him there because He has come to find me.

He’s come for you as well, my friend. All you need to do is breathe, and to listen for the sound of His breath right beside you.

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