Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

Last week I mentioned the idea of living with More and Less in my life this coming year.  In following my "read more" mantra, I am reading a challenging (and funny) book by Jen Hatmaker called 7.  The byline of the book is "an experimental mutiny against excess".  Now isn't that a mouthful??

I know I have excess.  I know I continue to obtain even more and more stuff.  And that stuff doesn't bring me the happiness I thought it would.  It usually becomes a disappointment that I have to find a place in a closet or cupboard for!  I also know that I don't just pursue "stuff", but fill my life with excess noise, visuals and (my favorite) food.  I mean who doesn't love something salty and crunchy when she is bored?  (Insert Doritos here.)

Because I know my heart and mind need a little de-cluttering of the excess, this week I decided to fast as well.  I have been fasting from all solid food, but allow myself a protein shake in the morning and at lunch, as well as broth or tea.  (If I were to go without all food...nobody would remain alive at my house!)  It has been difficult because I realize that when I feel emptiness of any sort, but especially boredom, I like to reach for something that fills my mouth and stomach.  Instead of sitting with the emptiness, I feel the need to fill it.  This of course, is true for my mind and my body as well, not just my stomach.

So this week as I've fasted, each time I felt hungry the need to put items in my mouth, it has led me to pray.  It has led me to ask God what I am really hungry for and has allowed me to sit in silence to wait for an answer.  It has also shown me just how much excess I live with.  (I eat WAY more than I need, let alone all the stuff I own that has no business being labeled "necessity".)  It has also led me to realize that it is OK to let go of some things.  

This was my prayer this morning:

To let go
means to open my hands
put it down
and leave it.

But that leaves my hands
very empty, Father.
For I am used to carrying
this familiar item.

Temptation to pick it up
runs searing-hot through my blood
My eyes cannot be averted
from this coddled, kept, treasure.

I need to feel full
already clenched hands grabbing for more
compel me to reach out
and snatch it back.

But You tell me to look down
and see my palms and fingers
lined and wrinkled
but no longer clutching.

You call me to prayer
with open hands.
Expectation in emptiness.
Making space for Your presence.

I let go
of dear things
to find myself
held onto by You.

No matter your religious persuasion, perhaps we could all use a little letting go in our lives.  What are the items (or other things) that you need to let go of?  

I have a feeling that "letting go" and "less" actually bring us more life rather than diminishing it.  (I am, however, still excited to eat solid food again!)

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

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