Ooof – that may seem like a harsh question, but life is not a bowl of cherries. Life has beautiful fruit but it also has pits and we do no one any favors pretending like all is well, all the time. So, it is time for some self-reflection, a common practice at the beginning of a new year. To push that self-reflection, I ask the seemingly tough question – Are you living or just breathing to death?
To give credit where credit is absolutely due, I nabbed this tough question from lyrics from a rap song by Lacrae called “Breathin’ to Death” . I think it is a great question for each of us to ask ourselves at the beginning of a new year.
Am I living or am I just breathing to death?
Are you going through your days/years, fighting the same battles, having the same arguments and struggles you have always had? Or are you walking with JOY in your heart sharing the love of God with everyone you meet, just by being the YOU He created you to be?
One of those questions resonated with you more than the other and I think I know which one. Let me tell you this, if you feel like you are living the same days/years over and over with speed bumps of drama and only little respites of Joy, don’t be discouraged, there is HOPE! There is Amazing Hope and I am happy to help point you in the direction of Hope.
Proverbs 23:18 Your future is bright and filled with a living hope that will never fade away.
To start to live, find out what is killing you. By that I mean pay attention to your heart and emotions as you walk through your day. By “pay attention” I am not saying let them take over – that is a recipe for disaster! Merely begin by noticing how things/events/people affect your emotions.
For example, if you scroll through social media/internet news and feel jealousy, envy or anger, etc. note that feeling. A spirit of comparison may be sneaking in the background of your mind and upsetting you in a deep place you don’t even register.
Doesn’t sound possible? Well, let me ask you this: Have you ever seen someone’s vacation posts/photos and thought, “I work hard, how come I can’t go on vacation like that? That’s not fair!” or “How can they afford to go on vacation there? I know they don’t make that kind of money!” Or perhaps you see friends or acquaintances gathering together and think, “Gee, nice they invited me, not!” or “See, I knew no likes me, there is the proof!” Or perhaps you see a political post and think, “What an idiot, I can’t believe they support that!”
Wow – Ouch! You may have any number of reactions to posts that you don’t fully register. I am saying it is time to fully register those reactions and see if they are leaching the life out of you. Overall, if you find yourself scrolling on social media/internet news and when you are done you feel worse then when you started, note it THEN make a change. If you are unsure how it affects you, try a fast from it and see what happens. Try taking a break for at least a couple days or a week, or maybe even a month – GASP! Break up with social media/internet news for a bit and see if you start living more instead of just breathing in/out. Give yourself time to adjust without it and pay attention to what happens in your spirit. If you feel less stressed/irritated/annoyed, etc. make the choice to limit its use or black list it all together.
Likewise, are you having the same relational struggles you have always had? Is there a “hot button” in a relationship that causes you to go from calm to raging in two seconds flat? Does that ONE thing your mom – or your dad – or your sister/brother – or your husband said keep playing over and over in your mind?
Note your hot button or that repeating negative comment and start investigating why that button has that affect on you or why that one comment just won’t go silent. I can already tell you the underlying reason why – in short order. Those things keep firing you up or repeating in your mind because you have an enemy of your soul that is trying to steal your life and keep you from experiencing Joy. He does this by keeping you focused on the negatives or keeping you away from others because of fear of hot buttons being pushed. So, stop just accepting it and FIGHT BACK! Make a choice to start dissecting the hurts and begin to forgive yourself and others and watch your life completely change.
Refuse to go through another year with the same old struggles and accept them as “normal” parts of life. Jesus came to earth to live and die and give you Full Freedom and Abundant Life. He did not come to merely give you an existence until you finally get to Heaven. He wants you to LIVE and live fully here on earth. Why? Well, – one – because it is more enjoyable and He wants you to enjoy life and – two – because that is the greatest witness to others of what He did for you and the biggest black eye to the enemy. Jesus Himself said this (note the difference between what Satan did/does and what Jesus did/ does):
John 10:10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!
There are so many wonderful avenues for healing of your body, mind and spirit out there that there are literally NO excuses not to start living and quit breathing to death, no valid ones anyway. Jesus is the key and His Holy Spirit is the guide and the foundation that makes it all possible is knowing that your Heavenly Father loves you, no matter what.
Choose to stop just breathing to death and start living! Choose to make this year – 2020 – the year to correct your vision! (sorry, HAD to do it!) Choose to SEE yourself the way God sees you and choose to SEE others the way God sees them! Choose to stop believing the lies the enemy is telling you and choose instead to believe what God says about you and others!
All these things boil down to one action – A Choice. No more sitting on the sidelines just watching life repeat its same cycles. Trust me, it is possible to choose and change. I have been there, done that and because I started to make different choices I am no longer living in the darkness that once ruled my life. I’m not perfect and will be in training until I meet Jesus, but golly oh golly is life SO much more amazing and wonderful than it used to be.
I encourage you to make the choice and walk forward. You don’t have to go it alone, God will walk with you every step of the way. You have a cheering party of THREE just waiting for you to make the decision and with them on your team, you can’t lose, so just choose!!
I pray that 2020 will bring you full freedom, joy and abundance in ways you could never imagine possible. My prayer for you is this:
Ephesians 3:19-21 To know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
With Love and Blessings,
PS – The best resource for healing is God in all three persons – but He has provided some amazing tools to help on your journey. Here are some of the tools He has used to help bring me into fullness and freedom:
Pastors/Speakers (to YouTube):