Breathe: Making Space for God
Breathing prayer is one way to make space for God, creating a margin of space to honor the Sabbath principle in our lives. The Sabbath principle is one of having time and space by setting a margin, a boundary around the busyness in our lives and yes, also in our hearts and minds. It is time with God.
The season of Lent is an extension of the Sabbath and traditionally has been about stopping or giving up something. When we give up something like chocolate bars, martinis or spending, we are reminded that the many blessings of life can enslave us when we are too bound to them. Honoring the Sabbath and God is sometimes thought of as a negative thing—a stopping rather than a creating, a restricting rather than a recreating. Yet creating a Sabbath margin in our lives provides freedom from chains that we don’t even realize bind us.
An ongoing weariness, a lowness of spirit, or resentful thoughts warn us that all may not be right with our soul. Many of the things, good things, given by God for us to enjoy, exert far too much control over our lives. The fact that our minds cringe or balk at the thought of curbing our desire to buy this or eat that can indicate that something is awry. When we “have“ to have it, or do it—we are not free but driven to get, or do more.
Taking Sabbath time with God provides perspective and frees us from our obsessive thoughts. There are so many bondages that we are least likely to recognize……
- To things—like the stuff we buy: shoes, clothes, electronics, cars , home décor
- To people—boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, best friends, employers, the worry of what others think about us.
- To hobbies—exercising, golfing, watching television, reading, social media, telephones, emails
- To indulgences—food, sweets, fast food, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol
- To work—our jobs, ministries, careers, volunteer efforts,
- To ourselves—our resentments, our drive to be productive,
Anything in the extreme can become a chain but by using the principle of the Sabbath margin to be still with God, we can free ourselves of obsession. Keeping a Sabbath margin in our lives gives us space to enjoy what we have instead of craving more. Breathing space for God, allows focus on the goodness God has already provided for us. Our gratitude for the many gifts of people, things and purpose in our lives releases our driveness.
The Sabbath does not have to be Sunday. Sabbath space can be any moment in our life where we have time for God. It is the idea of not missing out on God’s presence because we are chained to all the other things in our life, even though in moderation, they are good. Keeping a Sabbath margin helps keep our perspective so that we aren’t chained by our obsessive thoughts to get this, or do that.
Counseling Corner articles are written by Dr. Joanne MacPerson, founder and director of the St. Luke’s Community Counseling Center. For more information about the Counseling Center call 407.876.4991 ext. *250 or click here to visit the Counseling Center webpage. Free workshops, classes, and care resources are also available at St. Luke’s. Contact the Care Office at 407.876.4991. ext. *262.