Breathe

The world is pretty tense right now. In ten years, this will be history. This time we’re in, it will be recorded in history books, taught in World History classes, recalled by many as a bad memory.

I feel heavy and I can’t put my finger on why. So, I’ll write until I figure it out.

I journal daily. It’s a non-negotiable for me. I journal my prayers, which means, journal time is my time with God. Lately, I journal at night. It allows me to let go of the things, events, thoughts and feelings of the day. It used to be the thing I did as part of my morning routine. In the last few weeks, I found myself more tired, borderline exhausted. I was navigating the beginning times of a weird shift that took a lot of people on the internet [since that’s mainly where I hang these days] by surprise. I remember being IN BED after 10PM and drifting off into a cozy sleep, when suddenly I remembered I hadn’t written in my journal that day. I told myself it was okay. I could go to sleep and just have a few words with God from the comfort of my bed.

It didn’t feel right. I needed to spend some time with Him.

If you don’t have a relationship with God, it might be hard to understand why I chose to get up and write. I understand what’s that like because I remember what it was like when I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand why people woke up at 4:30AM just to pray or read their Bibles. I didn’t understand why people had to go somewhere to “meet God.” Why couldn’t God meet people wherever and whenever?

I was looking at it all wrong.

The question I NEVER asked was, ‘what was happening when they met with God?” My human imperfections were shining nice and bright. I could only focus on the inconvenience. I could only focus on the cost. I never even thought to look at the payoff; the reward. I didn’t understand why people were willing to sacrifice sleep to “meet with God” because I didn’t ask what that meeting was doing for them. The responses I was met with didn’t make sense to me because I wasn’t asking the right question.

Let me address something.

I can be a smarty pants. Just now, a question came to mind about why people wouldn’t have just volunteered that information. You know… That’s the part of me that lacks grace. That part of me expects people to be perfect and respond effectively. It calls attention to the areas of opportunity in others, instead of drawing attention to the parts of me that simply need work.

Not everything can be explained.

However, I’m going to try to explain because I don’t know if you need this or, if you know someone who does. So, please, bare with me. When I journal, I start off with thanking God for this time. If you think about who God is and what He accomplishes; how BIG He is and how small we are; how wonderful and miraculous He is and how much we need Him… you realize, it’s a blessing and a privilege to be in His presence. He is HOLY. We….aren’t. LOL Straight up. The crazy part is, that’s all He wants from us. It’s written all over the Bible in so many different ways; He just wants us to be in relationship with Him; to seek Him; to walk with Him; to ask Him for help.

He is a good, good father. It’s who He is.

So, like a good parent, He wants to be there for us. When a person takes that time, before a busy day, to spend time with Him, it’s like saying, ‘Hey, God! You do a ton for me… so I just want to spend some time with you. Just to talk… Just to catch up. I have some things going on and I don’t know if anyone will understand me, but maybe pouring it out to You will help; even if just to get it off my chest.” Right? I mean, hellerrrr, talking always helps me feel better. It’s a way of sorting things out.

That’s what time with God does for me.

I don’t always walk away from my journal with the answer to life’s mysteries. I do, however, feel lighter. I feel more equipped to take on the things of the day or the next day. I sleep better. I rest easy. I am filled with gratitude and [serious] humility. I sort things out. I write my thoughts and emotions. I see where I’m unaligned with who and where I want to be. It all comes back to serving God and building the kingdom. I don’t know how to do that in my own strength, but when I show up, spend that time and get back to the world, things kind of work themselves out. I have epiphanies. I experience breakthroughs. I meet people who inspire me. I get to share my own gifts with my sphere of influence. I feel centered and never alone.

Here’s what happens when I don’t journal.

I forget to reflect. I don’t ask for help. I try to work things out on my own. I get confused more easily. I get more easily triggered by people and circumstances. I don’t feel centered; I feel scattered. I start to lose my sparkle. I know this because I’ve seen it. THAT’S WHY I AM COMMITTED TO SHOWING UP.

Discipline takes you far.

This Covid-19 pandemic is a heavy topic for many. There’s a lot of uncertainty and reasonable concerns, especially because a few really big things are happening: 1. people are dying and that is always serious, 2. the world is shutting down and that’s insanely serious, 3. people are losing their jobs, which compromises their stability and security. What does this entire post have to do with Covid-19?

I’m going on day 5 of working from home because of the Bay Area ‘shelter in place.’

All I can do is manage myself and contribute to the management of my household. Taking that time to journal and spend time with God helps me feel normal because that is something I normally do. Spending that time with God allows me to look to Him in this time of uncertainty and dismay. In a really chaotic time for humanity, I turn to the CREATOR of this world to comfort me, direct my steps and provide a way for me.

Maybe you don’t believe in God or anything.

There’s no way I could ever turn away from the obvious presence of His power in my life. Last week alone, both my daughter and husband were sick with the flu. Between the two of them, they had coughs, cold-like symptoms, body aches, fevers, headaches and restless nights. I am still managing Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, and am the most immunocompromised person in this house. Right? Wouldn’t you expect me to get sick? To at least develop a cough?

I didn’t.

So, as I continue to walk with God and seek His favor over my life and those I love, I also ask Him to save this world. I pray He will put an end to Covid-19. I pray and BELIEVE He will end suffering; Covid-19, cancer and all the other conditions we name. I release all anxiety and worry and panic to God. I surrender to His will and trust in His plan for this world. I believe for healing and deliverance. I know, the heaviness I mentioned earlier (and journaled about) was me carrying weight that doesn’t belong on my shoulders. I don’t know what the future holds, but I BELIEVE this will all turn around for His glory.

If you need prayer, email me @ hello@castrostrong.com — I will add your names to my journal, pray for your needs and believe for your breakthroughs. Blessings from above to you and your loved ones.

E

3 thoughts on “Breathe

  1. Praise God for his work in our lives and your ability to write as you do! I am blessed by your witness and encouraged in mine as well. Stay strong. Be you and may God be with us all!!

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  2. Jonathan Castro March 21, 2020 — 8:00 PM

    Praise his grace and the peace of mind he brings to our lives when we seek him and the truth. We can not work out life’s difficulties on our own. Time after time we try to rely on our own experiences or expertise and we fail or fall short. Remembering to lay all your worries, distress, and anxiety will bring calm the storm that is in your mind, body and soul.

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  3. Glory be to God for his presence. Our strong tower! I love how honest and true your writing is. It takes time and discipline to create a habit of meeting with God daily but through that process there’s so much to learn about Him and yourself! What a great topic to talk about and a reminder for me as I get back into my “normal” routine.

    Like

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