A few years ago, I started the practice of a breath prayer, very similar to the contemplative practice of centering prayer, if you are familiar.
It includes a name for God that is especially meaningful to me at a specific time, and then a very simple request for something that I can only receive from Him.
Some of my most common breath prayers over the years have been ones like these (so you get an idea of what I’m talking about):
“Prince of Peace, comfort me.”
“Lord of Hosts, be my defender.”
“God of the universe, keep me present.”
“God who sees me, remind me I am loved.”
In my minimalist journey, the simplicity of these prayers has been essential. They focus me throughout the day and allow me to connect with God without having to have this intricate, hour-and-a-half-long “quiet time”. They also have helped me get through those early stages of having a newborn who nurses every hour. I remember being up at 3am with Esther, and praying a breath prayer over and over as I nursed and bounced her back to sleep. I couldn’t think of much else to do or say, but having a simple heart-felt prayer truly centered me during those hard moments of exhaustion.
And now, I find myself reflecting on these prayers as part of my journey towards minimalism. See, I’ve recently gotten into another kick of purging things. It’s been so good to simplify again. And being able to get rid of the access clutter in my life has helped me address some other areas of cluttered baggage, worry, and stress that I don’t really need.
I feel myself reawakening as I continue to let go of physical things. It’s almost like…since I can let go of these material possessions, then I can more easily let go of the other heavy burdens.
I can let go of the expectation for my parents to give me only what God can give me. I can let their best efforts and their love be enough.
I can also let go of the expectation for my husband to give me only what God can give me. I can let his love, leadership, and overall character be enough.
I can let go of the expectation for myself to be perfect as only God is. I can let my personality, my capabilities–really, myself be enough.
I can let go of the expectation for this life I’m living to be picture perfect and neat, or exciting and adventurous 24/7. I can embrace the chaos or the monotony or the less-than ideal circumstances, and let this beautiful life that God has given me be enough.
And I see now that God has given me another centering prayer to say in one breath– another breath prayer: “Be Enough.”
Or perhaps, “Let it (him/her/me/them) be enough”.
It is not a command to be good, kind, cool, pretty, sexy, pure, clean, happy, or whatever else enough. It is an invitation to let each moment, each person, each item in my home, each piece of food I consume, each word I say, each action, and each situation God brings me— to let all of it be enough.
That is contentment.
And in my quest for minimalism, I realize that it is not about creating a certain aesthetic or getting rid of things just for the sake of being less cluttered. It is a quest for contentment with what I have, and actually requiring less to be content in the first place.
To allow my possessions to be enough.
To allow a simple schedule to be enough.
To be content enough not to “buy” into the message that I am what I have.
The truth is, I am enough. I can, through Christ, be enough.
Today, like all days, I need to breathe this prayer in and out each moment.
Let my milk supply be enough. Let the babysitter’s care for Essie be enough. Let the sleep I end up getting be enough. Let the training for the 10K I get done be enough. Let the snacks I bring to MOPS be enough. Let the time Esther takes to walk be enough. Let the money my husband makes be enough. Let the groceries I purchased this week be enough. Let my attempts to fill our CRU table be enough….
All of these are enough ultimately because only you, Jesus, are enough.
You hold all things together. You make all things enough.