Tag: rhythms

The Air You Breathe

Recently one of my closest friends was in a crisis situation – the worst day of her life – and in the midst of the chaos, as she was trying to make hard decisions, she had the wisdom to say, “I need to put on my own oxygen mask first.”

You’ve heard this one MILLION times on the pre-flight safety spiel, and have probably heard it as a metaphor for our spiritual rhythms.  

My friend was at a crucial juncture and knew she needed strengthening for what was ahead when family members and others would be needing a lot from her. She knew she couldn’t give what she hadn’t first received.

The other day I was feeling really down and I couldn’t figure out why. I texted a close friend who asked: “Are you tired?”

My first answer was, “No.”

After some reflection I texted, “Well, yes, but I shouldn’t be.”

And then after a little more reflection… “You know…I haven’t been doing a TON, but I realize it’s all been really draining relational stuff. Hmm…”

I realized I was just a little “out of breath”.

Our ability to give good to others comes from the good we first receive from God.

Here’s the thing… I think some of us are putting on masks that pump noxious gas into our systems. We primarily breathe in rants on social media and we absorb raunch and obscenities over TV and movies.

And some of us are putting on masks filled with sleeping gas. We inhale escapist stuff that isn’t real – isn’t pure oxygen, but rather lulls us into false complacency.

But what are the life-giving masks we need to choose?

The love of God is the oxygen we need to do good work in the world. If you want to bring heaven to earth you will need the oxygen the refreshes and renews.  Without breathing deeply of His love we are in danger of sucking in and spewing out bitterness, anger, and criticism, especially in these politically contentious days.

This is not an easy deal! Can we help each other?

What does putting on your own oxygen mask first mean for you today?  

There are a couple of apps that have been helpful to me – Centering Prayer app and Pray as You Go app. Both provide a short portion of Scripture and silence for reflection.

What are the ways you breathe deeply of life-giving relationships, experiences, and practices? 


When You’re Tired

I’m tired.

Tired, as in go to bed an hour early and wake up an hour later than usual. Tired, as in afternoon “power nap” required.*

This seems really odd because it’s summertime and that’s usually the season of easy living and filling up, but this summer has been a bit different for us.  Maybe for you too.


Whether it’s emotional, or physical strain, now, or mid-winter, we all go through seasons of tired and need to be gentle with ourselves and refuel. Can I get an “Amen”?

We need daily and weekly rhythms of filling so that we serve out of overflow but I believe we also need seasonal and yearly rhythms of filling too.

This brings us to my favorite week of the year.

Approximately Wednesday, August 5th to Wednesday, August 12th.

Every. Year.

This week, new ideas, stimulating conversations, prayer, laughter, music, sun, wind and waves win over everything else.

Every single year we have two back-to-back, inviolate commitments – the Global Leadership Summit and right afterwards, our staff family retreat on a lake in northern Minnesota.


The GLS brings together World Class Leaders to speak at a two day conference. It’s inspiring, challenging, encouraging, motivating. And this year our church is hosting as a satellite site so if you live in the Twin Cities and haven’t signed up yet, do it Here! (and if we haven’t met yet, come introduce yourself to me!).

Bill Hybels says, “As a leader, the best thing you bring to the table every day is a filled up bucket.” 

But this isn’t just true for “leaders”.
As a person, the best thing you bring to the world every day is a filled up bucket.

When my bucket is empty…

  • I’m more likely to speak too quickly.
  • I’m less likely to be patient.
  • I’m more likely to spin my wheels without listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
  • I’m more likely to overlook God’s beautiful gifts because I’m worried.


So how do you fill up?

Think of some the different areas of your life – spiritual, physical, relational.  What rhythms do you have that keep you replenished so that you don’t just deplete, deplete, deplete, and then madly try to fill up?

What’s one thing you can commit to today to allow God to fill up your bucket?

  1. Carve out 5 minutes of silence to remember God is with you. Just focus on His character. Check this resource.
  2. Sign up for a class or conference that will inspire or motivate you.
  3. Take a walk or a run and thank God for all the gifts you notice.
  4. Set up a coffee date with someone you want to learn from.
  5. Go to the Abide site or get the Abide app and choose a guided prayer topic that fits your circumstances.

There are a million other filler-uppers. What favorites would you add in the comments?

*I love it that John Ortberg says, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.”

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