"Exhale" -Sara Kerr
“It’s okay to not be okay. This is a safe place. Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed, there’s still hope here. No matter what you’ve done or who you are, everyone is welcome in His arms. Just let go let His love wrap around you and hold you close. Get lost in the surrender, breathe it in until your heart breaks, then Exhale. Spirit come tear down the walls that only you can. Reconcile this heart to yours right now God. Oh God, we breathe in your grace and exhale. Oh God, we do not exist for us, but to share your grace and love, and exhale.”
I totally relate to this song by Plumb. How many of you, like me, feel like you have to be okay to be close to God? Maybe even that you are not valuable when you are not okay? What if I told you that God would disagree with those beliefs? That He longs for us to long for him in the hills and the valleys of life, but also in the valleys aka when we are not okay. That is when we seek him the most, and that is when he can make beauty from ashes. Maybe we can accept the not okay days and give ourselves enough grace to be human and pursue God's heart even more. When we are feeling not okay, maybe that is when we should dig deep into our thoughts and beliefs, replace the feelings with truths, take steps, and move forward. On days we don’t feel like we can stand, we should kneel and He will carry us. I don’t know about you, but some days I need to accept not being okay, so I can value myself enough to be able to exhale the grace this song is talking about. After all, how are we supposed to give grace to others when we can’t even give it to ourselves?
I tend to seek God when I am empty and afraid, then lack in the area of praise when I am full and faith filled. In recent years, some days being better than others, I have learned that when I seek him on the hills and in the valleys, the climbs and falls do not rattle my identity or value like they once did. A very wise mentor once told me that my identity should be so centered on Christ and not on my circumstances, that the hills and valleys do not move me. This brings a challenge to mind that we should stop viewing life as an up and down journey. If we are focused on eternity with Christ and in bringing glory to His great name, what does it matter if it’s on a hill or in a valley, it’s all part of the journey. In fact, I was exploring this area of my belief system last week and discovered that I have always pictured the path to God as a straight path, so when we veer off of it we have to make our way back to the right path. Instead of living this back and forth journey, maybe we should cling to the hope found in Joshua 1:9 where we are commanded to “be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
What does this passage say to you? For me, it tells me that even if I find myself astray from what God had in front of me, I should be courageous and seek him and he will find me where I am. It tells me that God is with me wherever I go, so whatever choice I make or road I start to follow, if I seek him, he will be with me and he will create the path ahead. It is as if I can actually make choices - that God created me, a human being, to make choices and that even if those choices are “bad” he will bring glory from them when I seek him in all I do.
I challenge you to think on these things and go through today believing in God's presence in your life. With belief and trust in him, give yourself grace as he would, because I do not believe him to be a judge just waiting on us to fall. I believe that he just wants us to seek him whether we stand or fall. Remember that when you are not perfect you are righteous and that Philippians 1:6 reminds us that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” Go forth, seek God, make choices, fall down, stand up, fall again -- it will be okay. God loves you whether you are okay or not, so do yourself a favor and love yourself that way too, then “Exhale” it onto everyone around you.