Are you ready to Drain the Swamp? Let’s begin Week 4 with…
- Notice when you feel off balance this week.
- Repeat a prayer as you breathe in and out (examples below)
The Call of Shame
A couple of years ago I was looking for office space to rent in Los Angeles. There was one phone call with a particularly rude property manager. Let’s call him Mr. Dumbutt. When I shared with Mr. Dumbutt how much I was willing to pay for rent he busted out laughing. He paused only to gasp for air and then resumed his laughing spell. He eventually regained his composure in time to go on a rant about how foolish I was to even mention such a price in Los Angeles. Furious and humiliated I gave a curt goodbye and hung up.
My shame simmered under the surface. Soon after this I made several phone calls to other property managers. As they answered the phone, they had no idea what was going through my mind.
But they soon learned. My voice was tense. I was short with them and ill-tempered. My tone bristled with anger. It felt good to pass on the abuse I received from the other property manager. Well, it felt good for a few seconds anyway. It didn’t do anything for the deep pain that was still inside of me.
I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, but I see it now. When I feel hurt, too often I end up hurting those around me. And unfortunately, when I hurt someone else, there’s a good chance they’ll pass on their pain to those around them, and on and on it goes.
It’s like a dangerous game of hot potato.
I wonder how far my pain has spread around the world. Thank goodness there’s not an app for that…yet. But if there was it might look something like this:
There’s a great scene in Scrubs where they demonstrate what this looks like:
This week I’m going to focus on breaking the chain. Like an unwanted email chain letter, I don’t always have control over what I receive, but I do have some control over what I pass on to others.
What this prayer IS NOT:
- Perfection. Because I’m imperfect my goal is not to act perfectly.
- The elimination of all emotion. Because I’ve come to appreciate the important role emotions play in my life, my goal is not to eliminate all emotion.
What this prayer IS:
- A chance to connect with Christ, each time returning to His presence like the prodigal son.
- An opportunity for transformation, with the hope that with time I might respond more out of His love instead of out of my pain.
This week I’m going to pay attention to when I feel out of sorts. Whether I’m driving or working, I can say a breath prayer that feels comforting, repeating it for as long as it’s helpful.
Here are some examples:
Each prayer is shortened so it can be said in a breath. For instance, “Lord anger out, Your peace in” signifies “Lord, I release my anger to You and I receive Your Peace.
Anger: (Breath out) Lord anger out, (Breath in) Your peace in.
Sadness: (Breath out) Lord sadness out, (Breath in) Your joy in.
Fear: (Breath out) Lord fear out, (Breath in) Your contentment in.
Hatred: (Breath out) Lord hatred out, (Breath in) Your forgiveness in.
Shame: (Breath out) Lord shame out, (Breath in) Your love in.
Interested in giving this practice a try? You might find it healing to pursue a Sacred Badge of Courage.
Acknowledge the presence of whatever emotions you feel. It’s tempting to want to ignore intense emotions, but try bringing them with you as you enter God’s presence.
Are you thinking of practicing Breath Prayer this week? If so, let me know what your plan is.