Yesterday at church, we sang the line “You are the beginning and the end” over and over again as a chorus to one of the worship songs. And it took me right to this thought: Even when we are in the midst of a messy middle in life, and I am (and some of you are too), even when we are so far ashore we cannot see the end from the beginning, God holds them both. Our unresolved, protracted, murky circumstances are contained in him. He is the beginning and the end, even when we feel like no such boundaries exist anymore.
I hope this somehow comforts you as it did me. To know that something bigger and beyond holds our stories, contains all the missteps and questions and ambiguity. And if we believe this, that we are held even in the midst of the mess, then the best thing we can do is surrender to that held-ness. I’m not saying we can’t scream obscenities into a pillow now and then, I’m just saying that perhaps after we do that, we might want to just fall into being held. Sink into it. Drop our shoulders and breathe. Allow something/someone that is stronger and wiser to take over.
Exodus 14:14 says it all:
This doesn’t come easy or naturally to any of us. We have to choose to be still, like a practice, especially when life is handing us extraordinary circumstances. Our fight-or-flight bodies want to spring into frantic action. Our black-and-white minds want decisive resolution, a strategic plan. Our broken-and-bruised hearts want to be fixed . . . immediately. But I’m wondering if the best thing we can do for ourselves is light a candle, breathe, and be still, trusting that the Beginning and the End holds even the messiest of middles.
We can use this passage as a breath prayer if needed: Pray “God is fighting for me” as you inhale. Pray “I can be still” as you exhale. Practice the breath prayer if you can’t sleep or if you feel anxious. Use it to calm your body or your mind.
It’s ironic, isn’t it. The most productive thing we can do is be still. Totally counterintuitive. And yet, this is what trust looks like. Allowing ourselves to be held; acknowledging our stories are held.
Main task this week: breathe and be still.
All my love,
If you need a companion in the messy middle, Breathing Room is a friend in the overwhelm.