Calm Down and Breathe

039-20120504_0154I’ve learned something profoundly important about myself.  I thrive off difficulties.

It’s a tendency of addictive persons. And though it’s not all bad to have this penchant, it can be bad.  There’s good too, to be into problem solving, endlessly considering three steps ahead, to be that type of person that is wondering about the options, potentials, and liabilities for every scenario.  Not all bad, no, but exhausting.

It’s not all bad except when it takes over life and you find yourself a bit like a chicken with its head cut off running and squawking about the sky falling—it is vulgar and disruptive and fruitless, and it’s erratic.  Hard on everyone around you and utterly unfaithful to a God who is in control of all things.

Yesterday in so many words, we were told by an expert psychologist (one of the best in his field)

to just stop it, already! Calm down and breathe.

Be in

this moment. 

To accept and surrender to right now.

At first I looked at him in disbelief. This guy is supposedly the expert and he’s telling me one of the simplest ideas.  BE PRESENT – with your life, with your kids, with this minute.

This is intense for a doer like me, I’m a problem solver.  I feel calmer exponentially calmer from such a modest and unpretentious idea.   ACCEPT THIS MOMENT.


For months we’ve had a few big problems in our family that we have been trying to solve.  It’s no secret that I’ve become frustrated, consumed with confusion and anxiety, allowing despair to take hold.  This is who we are, I thought, Tom and especially me. We project out to the future and come back and cannot visualize it working out.

But we cannot project good outcomes.  We cannot resolve it.  We cannot solve it.  We cannot think our way out of it.

Partly this is not trusting God.

Partly this is simply fear.

Partly it is that we believe we have control over the outcomes of our lives, and more importantly no matter how much we say that we don’t think so intellectually, we think we have control over the outcomes of our children’s lives.

Suddenly I see that we cannot control the outcomes of our life even as we work hard to be better people, learn to be better parents, strive to be better community members, even as we do, make, inhabit, create, prepare, plan, teach and attempt to control who our kids become, we are challenged to accept what is.

He said, it’s okay.

No, my mind wanted to say and I did say to it’s a mess, it’s falling apart, it’s out of control.  We’re in big trouble.  We cannot manage.  We don’t have answers.

It’s okay.

He just kept coming back to it.  It’s okay, what is.  This is the state of things. It’s okay.

Our current circumstances are hard, some of the toughest we’ve ever faced.  But right at this moment, still high from the clarity of the simple truth of yesterday, I see.

If we take life minute to minute, moment by moment, I’m fairly certain we can bear it.

Just now, right now.  Only this moment.

Stop projecting three steps ahead, three years ahead … and it’s a sweet surrender!  There’s a sense of less straining, less fear, less need for control and more of getting out of the way for God being God.  I’ve talked a lot of late about surrendering to God but haven’t known how.

We do it right now.  This is the only moment we can surrender and then we’re free.

Ask yourself: What’s going on right now?  What are you accomplishing in this moment by worrying three steps ahead?  Not a thing.  Why not be here?  What’s to be solved by imagining the worst and best outcomes?  What might happen if you just stopped?

One thought on “Calm Down and Breathe

  1. I know teh feeling, living RIGHT NOW is so hard, specially when you wnat things tochange. The problem Ihave is taht I don´t trust myself, I trust God but not myself, so what do I do if I get angry with God or other issues? How can then He help me?
    I try to live right now, but still with than insecurity of what happens if I mess up…


Thanks so much for reading and sharing.

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