I settle into my chair and take a deep breath, letting it out slowly. I notice the tension in my shoulders, and let that breath, God’s breath, travel into tight muscles. Quietly, I remind myself that every part of me is welcome in this space. It’s something I say regularly to those I journey with, but now I say it to myself.
My joys and hopes are welcome here.
My pains and burdens are welcome here.
It’s so easy to let myself get preoccupied with my fig leaves—the things I use to cover and protect myself—and lose the fact that I’m in the very Presence of God. I’m performing and hustling, pretending and pleasing in order to try to gain the love I already have.
These deep breaths, these moments of silence when I gently invite myself back to who I really am—these are holy moments. So close is the burning bush, all I have to do is close my eyes and inhale. So close is the companionship of Christ, all that is required of me is to settle once again into His yoke.
It is so easy to forget that the whole sweep of God’s story is one long invitation back to Eden, back to communion with the One who loves us most. It is so easy to fall into concern with the past or worry about the future, and miss the real Presence in the here and now.
I am so grateful that it is also so easy to center, to remember, to return to the safety of God’s arms. I am so grateful this deep breath, this silent moment, this eyes closed time of rest is all that it takes to accept Christ’s invitation to intimacy. And I know silence, stillness, the deep breath—they’re all hard to remember amidst the striving and the doing and the daily work. But the remembering is part of what the Spirit is here to help us with, and I’m not powerless in the face of the noise.
Instead, God’s presence is with me, right in this moment, and all I need to do is take a deep breath… and I’m in the garden again. I’m home.
Picture found here.
Tara M. Owens, CSD is a spiritual director and supervisor with Anam Cara Ministries, and the Senior Editor of Conversations Journal. She is an instructor in CenterQuest’s School of Spiritual Direction, and her book, Embracing the Body: Finding God In Our Flesh & Bone, will be published by InterVarsity Press in December 2014. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Bryan, and their rescue dog, Hullabaloo, who is a pretty incredible spiritual director in his own right. She loves red velvet cupcakes, hockey, and working with words.