Dear Breathing Room,
We haven’t always known each other well, but you’ve become my friend in this season.
Two years ago, we were mere acquaintances. My days were full of hard work and lots of activity. It was good — sweet and full and just what I needed.
But what I need now is different. What does it mean when we need something different than we used to need? What does it mean when we crave things we didn’t crave last month or last year?
It means we’re human. Our tastes change and evolve, and what a beautiful thing that is.
I have a lot of wonderful friends in my life who remind me that it is beautiful for us to be different. It is rich and good when groups of people are diverse in their perspectives, backgrounds, personalities and opinions.
It is good that one person needs more alone time, whereas another person needs more activity to help them feel alive. It is good that one person needs movement and another needs stillness. It is good that one needs shelter and another needs to not be sheltered anymore.
We can celebrate these differences in ourselves and each other, because the differences make us better equipped to serve others. When we know our own diverse needs, we are better equipped to see and meet the diverse needs of our neighbors. When we are brave enough to say what we need (even if it’s different than what someone else needs), we are better able to receive love and care from God and others.
Like us, maybe seasons are meant to be diverse.
Maybe it’s good for different priorities and rhythms and even appetites to come and go. Maybe it’s good for winter’s needs to be different from those that were true this fall. Maybe it’s good when we allow ourselves to be diverse in our tastes, evolving in our needs and growing in our strengths and weaknesses.
Maybe this is the work of becoming.
One thing I know to be true about my life with God is that he uses words and metaphors to tell me who he is. He uses my love language (words) to teach me and to reach me when I need it most.
He has used the language of adventure to challenge me to try new things. He has used the language of art to show me his color and creativity. He has used the language of legacy to remind me that I am not an island, and that my words and actions will impact other people for better or for worse.
Now, he’s reaching me through the language of breathing room. Not just chilling out about stuff and confessing my perfectionism (which is certainly part of it), but even allowing enough space to feel my lungs expand and contract and let the silence ring a little bit in my ears. He’s reaching me by letting me just be and trust that there’s enough space in life’s long journey for both rest and activity.
For years I thought I knew how to speak the language of rest, but I think I was keeping up appearances. I am only conversational so far. My vocabulary is shallow.
I didn’t start off 2019 with any goals or resolutions, but I like the idea of walking into this new year with the attitude of learning a new language. Practicing the vocab. Asking for help. Making flashcards. Feeling the shape of the words on my tongue. Working towards fluency.
This year, whatever our season, may we learn the vocabulary that will help us to own what we need and listen for the needs of others.
This season, whatever our circumstance, may we expand our collective language to celebrate the diversity we see both around us and within us.
In today’s circumstance, whatever it’s flavor, may we be people who make room for God to teach us and reach us in both the joy and the challenge.
Thank you, breathing room, for teaching me to find the beauty as I accept and welcome the change.