This morning I stepped out the front door and headed to the car. My mind was thinking about a hundred different things.. am I late? Should I have worn a jacket? Do I have any money in my pocket? I was not worried if there would be air for me to breathe when I opened the door. You probably think that sounds like a stupid thing to worry about, but is it? What is more important to you right now than air? Work? Family? Money? If I took away your ability to breathe right now, you might be amazed how suddenly air would jump to the top of your priority list! …but who ever worries about there being air? We just trust that every time we breathe out there will be another breath to take in… and even if there isn’t we don’t really have a choice, there’s a very real limit to how long you can hold onto, and depend on, a single lung-full of air. At some point you have to let it go.. and see what happens next. You have to trust.
They say that if you get sucked out of a spaceship your eyes will freeze and your blood will boil at the same time.. because there’s no atmosphere to hold you together. A legitimate concern on a spaceship, but why don’t we worry about it on Earth? We just trust that what we know will be there for us, because we don’t really have a choice. If you had some bizarre phobia about the atmosphere melting away and leaving you a bubbling puddle on the sidewalk you would spend your entire life huddled inside your house peaking out the blinds (as if blinds would save you) at the crazy folks out there walking dogs and riding bicycles… just begging to be vaporized. You have no choice but to trust.
Sometimes life seems to suddenly decompress like that dumpy little spaceship… the people and things we come to depend on can vanish in the blink of an eye.. we can be betrayed and forgotten by friends, your house can catch fire, your stocks can crash, someone you love can be taken from you, or worse yet, just leave you. Everything that looked solid enough to lean on becomes smoke and your left catching your balance wondering what happened, why, and perhaps the hardest question, what’s next? You find yourself holding your breath, hanging onto the memories and the things that used to be there for you… but really, your lungs are empty… the oxygen is all used up and it’s already time to exhale again…
…because it’s already time to breathe in again. It’s time to trust that what you need is there for you. Life a cycle of trusting. We are constantly losing things and gaining others. We are constantly let down and disappointed by people and things we depend on. We cannot let our fear of what we image could happen keep us from breathing out and in again. Sometimes breathing in means changing something about your life, sometimes it just means trying again. Sometimes breathing out means throwing something away, sometimes it just means letting something go… letting go of fears or anger or just forgiving… Breathing in means accepting whats next, not worrying about wether it will be enough for you. Maybe it means a fresh start, maybe it just means trying again.
The only this that’s certain is that holding your breath, clinging to the past will only lead to one thing.. death.
My life has been a mess.. I’ve been under 10 feet of water, holding that breath with a brick on my chest… I’ve been begging God for an option, for a hand, for a way out… I’ve been getting angry at Him because I couldn’t see any way out, and I’ve been getting angry because all He ever says in “Ryan, trust me..” My response is usually, “I do trust you, show me the way out!” … and his response is always the same… “..trust me..” The heavier the brick gets, the more stale the air in my lungs becomes, the more and more I beg Him to help, the more He simply says ” ….I love you, trust me.”
Trust has nothing to do with the thing or the person you need to trust, it’s all about your attitude toward them.. it’s a choice.. to hold back, pull away, hide behind a curtain, hold your breath, or to open the door and step out… it’s a choice to let go of your worst thoughts, or all the things you used to depend on, and see what happens. Trust is about changing your own attitude. Trust is hard, because it sometimes goes against “common sense”, it sometimes goes against our instinct to protect ourselves, it’s not always logical, and sometimes it seems as crazy as stepping out of your spaceship or walking your dog out in the summer air… or letting out your breath under ten feet of water…
As hard as it is to trust with your chest aching and your face turning blue, there is a peace that comes on the other side.. When God tells me over and over and over to just trust Him, I begin to realize that by holding on to my own fears and worries I’m not trusting anyone but myself… it’s not until I understand that I find the peace of trusting Him… it’s not until I breathe out and stop depending on myself that I see He is bigger than the air I breathe… that my need for Him is more urgent than my need for another breath… I see that He is infinitely bigger than my fears, and infinitely closer than my skin. He fills my lungs, and makes my heart contract… he is the spark that pulses through my brain and everything that runs through my veins… Why would I not trust the One who holds me together? Why would I trust the air to be there for me to breathe but not trust the One who put it there? Why would I trust my own perspective more than the One who created sight? Why would I let my life be ruled by fears instead of the only One who should be feared?
“O LORD, you have searched me and known me, you know when I sit down and when I rise, you know my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down and you are infinitely acquainted with all my ways. Even before there was a single word on my tongue, you knew everything I would ever say! You enclose me before and behind and laid your hand upon me! Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, I cannot understand it! Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I hide from your presence? If I climb to the heavens, you are there! If I make my bed in the depths, behold you are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I sink to the deepest part of the sea, even there you will lead me, your right hand will hold onto me.” -Psalm 139
Today the brick feels more like a car, and the water seems to be getting deeper…. but I’m breathing out.