You don’t have to be a runner to be breathless. The woman in the express lane ahead of me was just that. She swiped her credit card, looked at me, and asked, “Do you have the day off?”

“I do,” I said. “How about you?”

She was flushed. “No, I’m trying to run as many errands as I can during my lunch hour so I can rush home after work.”

She was clearly rattled. I responded, “Take deep breaths as you drive back to work. You’ll feel better.”

She didn’t wait until she got into her vehicle. As she put her credit card in her handbag and her bags in the cart, she took two cleansing breaths. “Thank you,” she said. “That feels better already.”

As women, some of the beautiful things we may pass down from generation to generation include a love of reading, gardening, decorating, organization, and most important, faith.

But faith is more often caught than taught. Children hear better with their eyes than with their ears. Had I asked this woman if she wanted her children to grow up frazzled, always feeling rushed and drained, I believe she’d have given me an emphatic no. Since it was evident she didn’t want this for herself, she certainly wouldn’t desire it for those who follow behind her!

But here’s the thing. Some weeks leave us breathless. Things happen that we didn’t plan. People get sick, move, or celebrate monumental milestones that require extra planning. Some seasons of life are packed full with little to no margin for anything extra.

So how do the breathless catch their breath? What should be done when we “feel like butter scraped over too much bread”? (Bilbo Baggins) These are the questions I wrestle with in an intense season of writing and speaking deadlines. Here are three ways to help the breathless breathe:

  1. Begin the day with God. When your feet swing from the bed to the floor, stretch and say “Good morning, God! I bless you! I need you! I can’t do this day without you!” From the moment you wake until your head hits the pillow again, whether you’re in the Word or in the world, seek to live in his presence and rely on his power and provision. “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3)
  2. Breathe. It’s more than taking air into your lungs (though cleansing breaths really do cleanse!). It’s a breath prayer that invites the divine into the daily. If you’re feeling breathless or panicked, pause. Look up and remind your heart that he is God and you are not. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” (Isaiah 40:28)
  3. Be. You are not the sum of what you do, but who you really are. Listen to what God says about you! You are accepted, valued, cherished, deeply loved, and enough. Not because you checked everything off the list, but because of who you are in Jesus. Not because of your behavior, but because of your birth into him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

May God, who gives breath to all things, help the breathless breathe for your good and his glory.

Writer’s note: All verses are quoted from the New International Version (NIV).