Learning To Breathe (Again...)

Earlier this week I wrote myself a letter. My therapist made me. It’s interesting to pay someone to help fix you and then have him give you an assignment to help fix yourself. “Shouldn’t he write the letter for me?”, I thought to myself as he was explaining it. I guess my millennial ‘entitlement’ trait flared up for a second.

Let me back up a bit… 

As I sit here I am trying to find some eloquent way to write this. I want to somehow paint a better picture than what my heart and mind were feeling the last few weeks (months?). 

Words are too graphic,—and yet they aren’t graphic enough. My heart aches. I am feeling pretty beat up and battered. I did it to myself. I allowed myself to become ‘overdrawn’ spiritually, emotionally and physically. Like a bank account with no money—the checks keep bouncing. My soul feels like a bounced check. I am hurting. I am exhausted. I am beat up and worn out. But now, I am on the mend… 

I am more convinced than ever—stress is one of our worst enemies. Stress has been my constant companion lately, I ended up getting sick again—3rd time since January. It’s May… maybe this round of antibiotics will kick it. Please no lectures on the harm of antibiotics. My chest was heavy and I was wheezing. Amazing how just a little bit of bacteria in your lungs can make your chest feel like it’s going to cave in and take you down…“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”—Galatians 5:9

The details of why I was over drawn really don’t matter. If it wasn’t this season or reason it could have, and probably would have been another. I NEED to learn this lesson. I hope I learned it well enough this time. I would really like to ‘graduate’ from learning the lesson to take care of MY-SELF. 

As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression my whole life, I don’t have much room for toxic relationships or people in my life. That’s just a reality. 

Several weeks ago when I was sick (again), I slowly woke up to the fact I needed to take care of myself or soon I wouldn't have a ‘self’ to take care of… I have seen so many good intentioned people lose themselves in people and ministries. All for the ‘good’ of others. 

Co-dependents’ are some of the most loving and giving people on the planet. But they tend to take the “love others as yourself” verse and read it “LOVE OTHERS more than and better than yourself”…they don’t know when to stop loving and giving.

The last few months I have allowed some toxic things and people in to my life… It started off gradually but before I knew it, I had allowed things to go to far. These things had a grip on me and it was bleeding the life out of me.

The lesson is, I MUST take care of myself— I am talking about making my mental and spiritual health my TOP priority. I have learned this lesson before but somehow I got off course lately. It started off as a little compromise here, and a little over stretching there. 

Before I knew it I was like a ship who was on course for Europe and just took port in Australia. Funny analogy for a woman who won’t be caught dead on a cruise ship. But that’s a post about anxiety for another day… 

Okay, back to my assignment. Because I am a ‘good student’ I did what I was encouraged to do. I wrote the letter to myself. The whole point in seeking help is to actually receive it I guess. Frankly, it was the BEST thing I have done for myself in a long time. 

In the letter I gave myself permission to be human. I gave myself permission to feel everything I am feeling. I gave myself permission to ‘fail’ and to quit and to walk away. I gave myself permission to not allow ‘fear of man’ to control me. 

Proverbs 29:25 "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord is kept safe." 

More importantly, I gave myself permission to follow God’s call in my heart. And I gave myself permission to breathe again. I feel like I have been holding my breath for months and not just because I am sick. But because that’s what happens when we lose ourself. We stop breathing. 

Now, I am breathing again… free as a bird. I have never asked a bird or researched it, but I bet birds breathe pretty freely in flight. It’s probably the only place they do breathe freely. I can imagine land scares them more than soaring does. They were created to fly.

Breathing comes easy when you are doing what you were created to do. 

You my friends, were created to fly. Figuratively, not literally so please no cliff jumping. But I want to challenge you, like I challenged myself this week—what makes you breathe freely? What makes you fly? What gives you life? You have permission to BECOME who you were created to be. Not who someone else thinks you should be. God created YOU with a purpose. A purpose to thrive and breathe… 

A wise friend told me to “follow the fruit". The fruit of the Spirit—Galatians 5:22-23. What brings you “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control”? 

Fredrick Buechner says “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”— That’s actually a quote above my kitchen table. I dusted it off and read it out-loud this morning. I think I will every morning for a while. It’s my renewed mantra. 

You were made to thrive, not just survive and definitely not hold your breath because of stress. Find the place that feeds your soul and helps heal the world. Be the light you were created to be.

If you are feeling ‘over-drawn’ I would encourage you to write yourself a loving letter. Release yourself from all the expectations you or anyone else have put on you, and learn again to tend to your heart and needs. 

Give yourself permission to walk away from whatever the ‘toxic’ is in your life.

Go follow the Fruit of the Spirit and the fresh air will follow. You are loved. You were made for a purpose. I can’t wait to watch you soar! 

Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”

It’s good to be back in the blogging world… :)

Love you guys! 

Dani

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