I Breathe In

I doubt I’m the only person this happens to, but sometimes my soul gets tired. It seems to happen when I allow this life to take precedence over my spiritual life. We all have family, work, church, and community obligations; and sometimes these will need to take a priority in your life. What we should never do, is allow them to infringe upon our spiritual life. I wish I knew the secret to ensuring that never happens. I wonder if God allows those times to come into our lives to help us grow in our faith. Shouldn’t our goal be that our spiritual is so intertwined with the rest of our lives there can be no differentiation or separation?

This past week, I found myself very soul-tired, which manifests itself as a general listlessness, a sense of despair, and doubting if I can do one more task. This past Saturday, I found myself in that situation. I tallied up my hours worked on three different consulting projects (60+), the few hours a day doing farm chores, preparing meals, cleaning, laundry, etc. My soul was tired, and I realized why. Of the 120 hours I was awake in the past week, I calculated I had spent less than 10 hours focused on my spiritual well-being. And that was counting church service, helping in AWANA, morning “God-time”, and my writing ministry work. When you do the math, which means in a 168-hour week, I spent:

  • 71% of my time on worldly things,
  • 23% of my time sleeping/resting, and
  • 6% of my time focused on God and my spiritual health.
How much time do you spend each week on your spiritual health? Click To Tweet

After that discovery, I decided I would start this week differently. I could have worked on multiple projects here at the Cross-Dubya, read several books friends asked me to review, or billed a few more hours to clients. Instead, I chose to rest in God. I breathed in the glory of my Creator and allowed Him to refresh my soul. For me, that means some time of quiet meditation outdoors. Oh, I get a nap in there somewhere along the way, but my best way to spiritually recharge is to unplug from the world.

When I lose myself in the peaceful beauty of His natural world, I find my pulse slows, my breathing is deeper, and my blood pressure lowers. It takes a while for God’s peace to settle within me, as I think Satan works overtime trying to remind me of everything I need to be doing. When it does; when I will myself to slow down and allow Him to work, I find great repose resting in His presence.

As the photo above shows, I’m blessed each spring with a wonderful, green carpet of God’s grace that is right outside my den window. I call the north pasture here at our ranch “God’s canvas”, as He paints a new scene that He invites me to come rest in each morning. Some days, He adds livestock to His artwork. Other times, it’s blooming clover, Indian paintbrush, delicate vetch, or the lush green mixture of Bermuda and rye grass as one is giving way to the other. God has an endless palette of colors He uses each day to brighten our world and invite us to come and sit with Him. Look around sometime friends, it’s amazing what you are missing.

How do you breathe in God? #SpiritualRenewal #BreatheInGod #CrossDubya Click To Tweet

In those peaceful moments of breathing in God, I realize that each moment of life is a gift from Him. As I sat under the pines in the barnyard with Bubba the chocolate lab beside me, I gently stroked his head and listened for God in the gentle breeze. From my heart sprang the words He inspired in Job 27:3.

“For as long as life is in me,
And the breath of God is in my nostrils.” (Job 27:3, NASB)

God reminded me that every breath I take is because He desires it. I take that to mean that every day I awaken, God has something for me to do for His kingdom. Upon that thought, I take a deep breath, thank Him for the privilege of serving Him one day more, and I seek His will for my life. I recognize that one day soon He is going to call me home. I pray I’ve done enough, in the right way, to hear His, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Until that time, I will breathe in and praise Him for allowing me to be of some small service to His kingdom. I pray you too will remember to take time to “Breathe In God.”

God’s blessings,

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52 thoughts on “I Breathe In

  1. Beautiful message J.D. and most definitely one I can relate to. I try to quiet my soul in the early morning hours, but even then, my mind is racing thinking about the things I should be getting done. It’s a battle at times. I’m a Martha and have to continually work to settle myself in order to hear what the Lord is saying.

    1. Thank you Ms. Cindy. I think we all have some “Martha” in us ma’am, which is the reason we need to purposely seek the “Mary” my friend. God’s blessings; and so great to hear from you today ma’am.

  2. Such a great reminder this morning. Your words have refreshed my soul and given me an important reminder. Thank you for this wise wake up.

  3. In a paraphrased comment from a certain movie, “Busy is as busy does.” That’s my dilemma associated with your words today, J.D.

    With Blue Ridge conference rapidly approaching, busy doesn’t cut it. “Not me, Lord, but you,” is my only hope. Thankfully, He seems to listen when I walk that way.

    Continued best blessings on you and the Mrs., dear friend.

    1. Yessir. As I mentioned, sometimes other things can take precedence, but let us not forget to take God with us in all these circumstances. Especially to a Christian Writer’s Conference. 🙂 God’s blessings sir, and prayers for a divine appointment during the conference.

  4. Just beautiful, J.D. I try to quiet myself each morning, reading my Bible near the windows which look out over our yard. Watching the sunrise over the woods causes me to remember the faithfulness of our God, and the promise of new mercies every day. Have a wonderful and blessed day!

    1. What serenity we find in God’s natural world my friend. Am so glad you have a place where you can experience that in your “God time” also. Thank you for commenting ma’am.

  5. Breathe is my word for the year, J. D., and your post today truly spoke to my heart. I know I’m not taking enough time to simply breathe and feel God’s presence within me. Our spiritual side needs nurturing daily; not good to ignore it!
    Blessings!

    1. Praying you find more time to “Breathe in God” my sweet friend. Knowing that was your “word for this year”, I prayed for you and Mr. Danny while writing this. God’s blessings ma’am.

  6. Breathing at all sometimes becomes a problem with my Asthma. If I use the steroid inhaler, then my voice goes. If I don’t use it, I find myself puffing just walking across the room. Weighing benefits vs hinderances makes me feel depressed.
    Oh, Spirit of God, Breath of Life, breathe on me contentment with all you have planned for me.

  7. Beautiful photo and post, J.D. Those percentages are sobering. I dare say most of us live in those same numbers many weeks. Ouch! It makes me more aware of evaluating what I spend my time doing and the soul care I so desparately need!

    1. Yes ma’am. When I stopped and tallied them up, I immediately sought God’s forgiveness in prayer. It was never intentional to move Him to the back burner, but it does happen. Thank you for sharing that I wasn’t alone in this malady my friend. Blessings sweet sister.

  8. J.D., what a difference it makes when I am still and breathe in His goodness and love. So many distractions can rob that. Always takes intentionality to keep Jesus above all else.

    1. Indeed it does Ms. Debbie. When I’m filled with His Spirit and refreshed by His love, I feel invincible, recharged, and ready to face whatever the world has offer. When I expose my soul to the world for too long or take on/take in too much, it zaps my spiritual strength and I need refilled. Great points ma’am. God’s blessings.

  9. J.D., I’m glad you included the times spent on various aspects of life because your example urged me to consider the same. Yesterday as I studied and prayed on the deck, I sensed God calling me to just sit a while, look at the blue sky and the greens of spring, and worship Him. My daily appointment with God is a blessing, but I need to rest in His peace and converse with Him throughout the day.

    1. Amen Ms. Jeannie. Sometimes God doesn’t necessarily want to teach us, stretch us, or sanctify us; He merely wants to spend some time with us. He knows when we need to slow down and rest in Him. I’m not surprised at how attuned you are to recognizing that urging within you by the Holy Spirit. I pray you were able to do just that ma’am.

  10. Just reading this caused my pulse to slow down. You caught me in the midst of angst over all that “needs to be done” – or so I think – at this late hour. Thanks for the reminder to breath in the Spirit of the living God on a daily basis. Good of Him to create us to become negatively symptomatic when we’ve been breathing in and expelling worry or rush rather than taking in His peace and serenity. When your day comes, the Lord will not find you lacking in having done much for His eternal kingdom!

    1. Oh, how I pray you’re right Ms. Mary. The best we can do is to keep working for that day isn’t it my friend? Praying your days and weeks ahead find peace, comfort, and grace as you make time in your busy schedule to invite Him to breathe into you. What a difference it makes!

  11. I understand your feeling. Things in my life can get so out of whack when I neglect my God time. It is so very important. Thanks for the beautiful reminder.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Yvonne. I don’t think that it makes us “bad Christians” when this happens, I rather think it reminds us that we are “mere humans”. It also encourages us to persevere through it because we know the day is coming when the “shackles of our human-ness” will be thrown away for eternity. 😀

  12. This was so relatable. Whether we’re chasing the myth of “balance” or trying to integrate the spiritual to perfectly mesh with the other parts of our lives, it’s a struggle. But thank the Lord for these challenges. They keep us ever-seeking Him since we’ll never have it all together in this life.

  13. I KNEW something was up with you this past week. I could tell. I almost emailed you to ask if everything was ok. I get it now. Soul tired. Body bummed. Mind in overdrive.
    Your words immediately took me to the old hymn “Breathe on Me.” Below are the words as a reminder. Good for me to read, too, as I am trying to come down from panic mode as I prepare to leave for a mission trip to Germany Friday.
    Hey, how is that Bubba dog doing? Sounded good if he was sitting next to you.

    Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Fill me with life anew,
    That I may love what Thou dost love,
    And do what Thou wouldst do.

    Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Until my heart is pure,
    Until with Thee I will one will,
    To do and to endure.

    Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Till I am wholly Thine,
    Until this earthly part of me
    Glows with Thy fire divine.

    Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    So shall I never die,
    But live with Thee the perfect life
    Of Thine eternity.

    1. It’s been too long since I’ve heard that my friend. Thank you for sharing with us. Sorry if my “busyness” showed last week. It happens, but I thank God for His persistence in breaking through all that to show me my spiritual thirst.

  14. “Let’s keep the main thing the main thing.” A coach I respect used this line a lot but it certainly applies in this situation too –the main thing being God above.

    I used to run on the “don’t just sit there, do something” philosophy but I’m getting better with putting that in reverse gear: “don’t just do something, sit there.” God wants us to breathe in His creation. How many times does Genesis say “and God saw that it was good”?

    1. Love that thought Ms. Candyce; “don’t just do something, sit there.” It reminds me of a saying I’ve used about consultants for many years (and yes, now I are one 🙂 ), but it goes, “A wise person speaks because he has something to say. A fool speaks because he has to say something.” God’s blessings ma’am.

  15. I certainly needed this today, as I am soul-tired, and physically-tired. So much has happened in these last 8 weeks that I feel like that hamster on the wheel. And I realize that I have not spent enough quiet time listening to God. Thank you for this timely reminder.

    Blessings!

  16. Your message is a timely one for me, dear friend. As you can surmise by the lateness of my reading your blog this week, I’ve been overwhelmed with a multitude of duties I have deemed essential. Of course, nothing is more important than our time with God. Like you, I love being in the outdoors, breathing in His air, viewing His marvelous creation, and listening for His guidance as I walk for my heart and health. But the last two weeks, I haven’t been able to walk and I’ve rushed through chores and shortened my Bible study time to complete “necessary” tasks. Thank you, sir, for reminding me what’s important. Hope you are feeling better and all is well on the Cross-Dubya.

    1. I can sure understand Ms. Katherine. Here it is 12:01am on my Monday morning as I’m starting my work day. Will purposely break around 4:30 though to get my “God time” in and watch the sunrise with Bubba. Then, it’s morning chores, breakfast, and back to work in the office for four different client projects. I know we’re supposed to “make hay while the sun’s shining” my friend, but I’m praying for a little rain this week. 🙂 Till then, I think we both need to just keep “Breathing In” my friend. I’ll be praying.

  17. Such a wonderful story of finding peace in the midst of a hectic schedule! I apologize for being so very late in responding, but as my mother’s caretaker, I’m beyond exhausted these days. I now get up with her at night so she doesn’t fall during her frequent trips to the bathroom (I have an alarm system that wakes me). Getting up twice isn’t so bad, but when it’s five times…that’s taking its toll on me. Fortunately, I am getting professional help soon, which will assist us both. Then I can spend more quality time with the Lord, write, and blog. I’m even planning out a podcast–one on Revelation and the other with my daughter to reach this current generation with the truth that will set them free. Praying for the time. But these days with my mother are also precious, and I want to cherish them. In the meantime, brother JD, prayers for you to just keep breathing in and glorify God in all you do. You are a great blessing to me and so many others. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for commenting Ms. Karen; and you never need to apologize for taking the time to read, consider, and comment upon anything I write ma’am. I’m honored you deem it worthy enough of your time to do so whenever. 🙂 I can certainly relate to the added workload and effort it takes to care for an aging loved one, especially a parent. My wife and I did it with my dad and in all honesty, for all the effort (and sometimes anguish, frustration, challenges, and sleeplessness) I can say that I look back at those times as some of my most precious memories. I not only learned more about my beloved dad, but about myself too. You keep “Breathing In” too sweet friend.

  18. I’ve breathed in God’s beautiful creation the past few days while on vacation. He’s painted a masterpiece! But I enjoy my time with Him from my office at home, too, as I read His Word and pray while birds chirp outside my window. Blessings to you, J.D.

    1. Well said Ms. LuAnn. We can enjoy time with God whenever and wherever we can spend time with Him. I too spend a focused amount of “God time” in my den, but I think the time I enjoy the most is when I’m able to meet with Him in the beauty and stillness of His natural world. It seems there, many of the distractions that attempt to weaken our connection to God are removed; at least for me. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am, and I’m so glad you got away for some vacation time.

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