Resolutions Redefined – Receive (Part 3)
If you have not already, take a moment to download and read through our Resolutions Redefined Practice. These practices are intended to be sacred space for you and God to think about the last year and look with hope towards what is ahead in 2021.
How was your Christmas? Did Santa bring you everything you asked for? We all know that Christmas is really about Jesus, but traditionally we celebrate in large part by giving gifts. Who doesn’t love the exchange that happens on Christmas morning? We have planned, shopped, and wrapped surprises that will hopefully delight the receiver. It’s almost just a bonus that we often get something in return.
In our relationship with God, there is a continual exchange happening. It’s not ever an equal exchange…no, God is incredibly kind and generous in His gifts to us. All He asks for is that we give ourselves. We bring all that we are – our hopes, dreams, fears, burdens, brokenness, mistakes – and He takes them. In exchange, He offers His perfect life, His everlasting faithfulness, His perfect love, His extravagant grace.
Receiving from God is something we desperately need, but often struggle with. I believe that one of the things that most robs us of the ability to receive is our difficulty being present in the present. God tells us over and over to forget the past. He says, do not worry about tomorrow! Jesus taught us to pray for our DAILY bread. God gives us all that we need right here and right now. He gives us what we need today, today!
Observe 2 things with me today. First, notice your thoughts. How many of them are in the past or in the future? How many of them are full of regret, hurt, worry, control, fear, anger? How many of your thoughts and present in this moment? Second, observe your breath. Is your breath shallow and hurried? Do you find yourself holding your breath sometimes? Are you primarily breathing through your mouth?
The best tool we have to bring us back into the present moment is our breath. We can’t make it through the day on one breath. I can only make it about 30 seconds before I need another breath! Our bodies know that they need to breathe oxygen all day, every day. And so, we need to receive from God at every moment, every day.
Practice using the rhythm of your breath to connect to the rhythm of releasing and receiving. As you inhale, pray “Lord Jesus”, and as you exhale, pray “I surrender”. You can use your own breath prayer as a way to slow yourself down enough to truly receive. Here are some other ideas of breath prayers from scripture:
Speak Lord, for your servant, is listening.
Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
Not my will, but yours be done.
Your kingdom come, your will be done.