When the weight of life becomes too heavy, it is important to pause and simply inhale and exhale. “Just breathe.” says Rev. Dr. Margie Crawford. “Listen for God’s quiet voice in the stillness.”
Superintendent, Midwest District
Every so often I remember to do this. It’s not like my body doesn’t breathe automatically. However, there are moments when I feel the weight of what is unfolding in our lives, our churches, and our nation, and I say these words to myself. In the midst of all that I do, just breathing gives me a moment to reflect and reset. And then I return to the tasks at hand with renewed vigor.
Still, I wonder if that’s the healthiest approach for managing what I hope to accomplish on a given day or in a given week. I don’t believe that I’m a workaholic. And yet, I am reluctant to take time off. Since the pandemic, when my home and office were, by necessity, part of the same space, I find myself starting work earlier and stopping later.
I have taken advantage of online worship, visiting four or more services on Sundays. Zoom meetings have significantly decreased the time I spend in the car. However, I have Zoom meetings nearly every day, including my Sabbath day. The appointive season adds a layer of discernment, discussion, consideration, and of course, paperwork to the list of what I do. With all that is before me come the surprises that life brings. Some are wonderful celebrations like exciting missions and ministries, new beginnings for families and faith communities, and the bountiful harvest of seeds planted for our Lord’s sake. Others are heartbreaking. The loss of family and friends, a diagnosis we feared, being confirmed, managing physical and mental health issues, or the closure of a church are some of the events which happen on our life journeys.
I have been able to maintain my spiritual practices. I pray, almost without ceasing. I regularly read the Bible and reflect on what is resonating with me this time around. I know that my self-care is a work in progress, with some days being better than others. Nevertheless, I am feeling that my body and soul need true Sabbath time. I want to listen for God’s quiet voice in the midst of stillness. My spirit desires moments of peaceful reflection, of long walks in nature, of nights gazing at the stars, watching darkness give way to dawn, and singing the Lord’s song.