How I’m Practicing the Art of Inhaling

As often as possible, Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer. Luke 5:16 MSG

It’s early morning, and I woke to the sounds of birds chirping, snuggled in a cozy cabin in Big Bear, California. I’m here with my two girlfriends on one of our regularly scheduled getaways, only this one is different than our past adventures. We typically do all kinds of things. We visit places we want to see and enjoy. We go on tours, we visit wineries. This time we decided on something lighter.

We rested. 

Or, as I’ve been saying this weekend,

We inhaled.

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I listened to a a podcast this week with Nathan Foster and Alan Fadling. Alan wrote the book I just started reading, An Unhurried Life. He talks about how we often say we need to exhale. Instead, we should be looking for opportunities to inhale.

My theme for this year is the phrase, Emptiness Precedes Fullness. I’ve looked for ways to make empty spaces so that they can be filled with other things. This means I’m sometimes saying “no” to good things so I can say “yes” to better things.

I think I have focused more on the emptiness, and less on the fullness. I have been exhaling but am forgetting to inhale.

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When we look at Jesus’ life and example, we see that he had regular times of pulling away. He was never in a hurry. He never seemed to have to meet every need of every person before he got away from it all. He simply just took the time away to inhale.

Our lungs need to take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. We inhale, we exhale.

Our hearts take in oxygenated blood, pumping it throughout our body, then pushing it back through the chambers to draw in more oxygen so it can feed us again. Inhale. Exhale.

This weekend, as we rested, meandered, slept, savored, sat in silence… we inhaled.

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It isn’t always possible to get away to a mountain cabin to take a breath in. Sometimes we just need to find a few minutes during the day to consciously, purposefully inhale.

I’ve recently begun to pull my iPhone out and snap pictures of things around me during the day. It might be beautiful flowers, or an old tree swallowing a parking meter. But lately, I’m taking pictures of benches. They remind me that even though I may not sit down on the outside, I can sit down on the inside. I can inhale.

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How about you? Do you need to remember to inhale? Find something that reminds you to take that life-giving breath and enjoy the rhythm of simply breathing in.

 

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