Take The Time To Breathe

Do you ever feel like there’s no time to breathe in your day? You’ve found ways to cram more and more into your daily schedule. Yet, you feel like you’re drowning now more than ever.

I’ve been there. It’s not a fun place to be.

At our old church, Pamela and I filled our days with work, church, and small activities to make sure we made the most out of our days.

Woman breathing peacefully

Photo by Eli DeFaria on Unsplash

There were good days. We spent copious amounts of time with students. We helped see them grow and become great adults.

The one thing we didn’t do was take time to breathe.

When you’re working a full-time job, volunteering with youth students multiple nights of the week, and trying to find downtime, it doesn’t happen. There’s no margin for rest.

Take The Time To Breathe

We discovered the hard way that we weren’t breathing. At least, not metaphorically. Our bodies were taking in air, processing the breath, and then providing life.

But WE weren’t breathing.

We were so rushed by the daily activities and things that needed to be done, we neglected our own health. That’s bad.

We found the means to breathe again when we left our old church.

We stepped away from all of the extra obligations other than our careers. We focused on ourselves and what brought life to us.

This was a refreshing period of life.

I want you to take the time to breathe today, tomorrow, and well into the future. Here are three things you can do to find time to breathe.

1. Remove the strangling obligations:

We kept committing to more and more activities. Youth group went from one night to two nights. We were asked to take on a young adult class. Yeah, sure, why not?!?

All of these activities became suffocating. We were cutting out valuable time for us to breathe.

Moving to a new church helped us remove the strangling obligations.

We committed not to serve for a year as we stepped into the new church. When we began to serve, we set boundaries around our commitments.

You may find yourself in a similar situation. You have obligations strangling you.

Figure out which obligations are no longer giving you life. Set a timeline to get out of those obligations. Even help the organization find someone to fill your role.

Once you’ve done this, begin to set clear boundaries around your time and presence. You’ll find breathing room here.

2. Delegate:

You may feel that only you can get the work done correctly. Let’s be truthful, that’s a lie.

There are plenty of people that can accomplish the tasks you’re doing. Your job is to find out the tasks you’re the best at. These are your core competencies. You may also look at the tasks you enjoy doing. You can keep those as well.

The other tasks? Look to delegate them.

There are people you can bless who would love to tackle the projects you hate or spend too much time on. Delegating is also an effective way of training someone else.

Breathe by delegating.

3. Take a Sabbath:

Sabbath is a Biblical term. A Sabbath is a day of rest in which you abstain from work. The Jewish community observes Sabbath from Friday evening to Saturday evening. The Christian tradition is observed on Sunday.

I heard a great quote from Wayne Muller about Sabbath. Muller had this to say:

If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop — because our work is never completely done. With every accomplishment there arises a new responsibility… If we refuse rest until we are finished, we will never rest until we die. Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished.

Rest will not find you. You must find the time to rest.

Resting is our way of breathing. Of making sure we’re pausing.

Learn to take a regular Sabbath. I would encourage it to be a regular day of the week, whether it be the Christian tradition of Sunday, the Jewish tradition of Friday night to Saturday night, or some other rhythm.

Sabbath restores our breath.

Breathe, Breathe, Breathe

Too many leaders are making it through their day without breathing. They find themselves worn out, tired, and bitter. This isn’t what they expected leadership to be like.

By finding time to breathe throughout your day and at least once a week, you will restore life to yourself, your family, and your leadership.

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