The door slammed as boys clambered out of the car. And gave me my first full breath since my guys had awakened on this battle-of-the-wills morning. Sniping and snarking had sapped my joy and irritation had replaced it.
God tried to get my attention with a beautiful sunrise, but one boy had already been snappish by then, and I ignored the colors.
Well, not totally.
I kept glancing out the window as roses turned to peaches and then to cream. I allowed my own pouting to take root in my morning.
After that car door slammed, I headed toward the freeway to meet my mom somewhere between her house and mine. Looking at my clock, I knew I’d be plenty early for our 9:00 breakfast date. Morning sunlight softened the curves of the landscape, making my heart yearn to pull over and snap a few pictures.
A desolate road I’ve longed to explore came up. What the heck? I pulled off the freeway and onto a semi-paved road, just to see where it led. Browns of dead grasses and resting fields blocked off by barbed wire fences captured my imagination. No cars drove in either direction of the two lane road, so I pulled over and took out my phone.
My soul took its first deep breath as I framed a couple pictures in my screen and snapped. I turned toward the mountains and got the clearest, most beautiful view of snow-capped peaks that I’d had eyes to see all morning.
This was how God loved me? By giving me beauty for my pouting? He knows me oh, so well. Sometimes what I need isn’t a spanking or a reprimand, it’s a glimpse of His amazing creativity.
I inhaled, my spirit perking up. I drove a couple miles further, stopping to snap pictures. When I came to some farms, I turned around. It could be awkward trying to explain I was photographing their buildings and property . . . because it made me happy.
I drove down another road, looking for picture moments, my soul lifting.
When I arrived at the designated restaurant, I wasn’t irritated anymore. Joy had reclaimed my heart. I wasn’t frustrated with non-morning sons, or the squirrelly-ness that’s hardwired into boys. I could smile and speak of them with love as my mom and I chatted.
Sometimes, I need time to just breathe. To step out of the appointments—the tasks—and do something that gives me joy. Taking pictures fills my spirit with breath, with life.
Sometimes refilling our spirits is more important than accomplishing those to-do’s on our calendars.
To choose to give ourselves time to be creative can unlock more creativity. As I inhaled the country air, story elements flooded my mind. And, I ended up with a few pictures that made me smile.
Although choosing spontaneity isn’t always possible, we can still take a few minutes to refresh our perspectives. Stepping away from the screen to take a walk outside, talk with a friend, or do something creative breathes life back into us.
Taking time away from the pressures of the day strengthens us to go back into our circumstances and give our best efforts.
Putting a little distance between us and a stressful situation gives us time to catch our breath. It’s not always possible to walk away from the stress in a work situation, but it’s essential to take a few moments to breathe deeply as soon as you’re able. And praying in those moments? Even better.
The situation may not change, at least not immediately. But you can regain perspective and calmness to help you deal with the stress at hand.
What about you? What refills your spirit with joy? How do you take time to just breathe during your days?