breathing room

breathing room

I have been working through a list of ten questions to ask at the end of the year courtesy of Laura Tremaine.
You can find all ten questions here. I enjoy using the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day to consider the past year and to set intentions or rhythms for the next year and these questions have been extremely helpful to me. In one sitting, I answered the first eight questions but let the last two questions linger and returned to them a day later.
The ninth question is:

What am I removing to make more space?

Initially, this question felt rather difficult because this year has been about removal to the core. As I sat with this question a little longer I wanted to share a few of the “things” I want to remove:

  • Saying “I am sorry” so often.
    This year, I have learned that I can trust myself, make good and wise decisions, and hear from God correctly, especially if I wait instead of rushing. I want to stop apologizing for possessing the mind and heart I have and leading from the place of Helen. This year yielded ample opportunities to practice making the right decision and as someone who can become paralyzed to make the right decision especially when the stakes feel weighty, I hope to never believe my compass might point south again.
  • Believing busyness, hurry, and crammed calendar boxes are the currency of worth.
    I know my worth is not dependent on extending my arms out for others to see my planner but I often live in direct opposition. I hope to continually reach for a slower more intentional life, one that is more curated than mindlessly stuffed with anything and everything. The days of living for gold stars are history.
  • It’s perfectly fine to admit when I am tired.
    Perhaps this an anecdote for incessant apologies and reaching for the busyness badge.
    Who isn’t tired? Some seasons bring greater fatigue than others. Listen to your life, your body, and your soul.
    Take a nap, go to bed earlier (preaching to myself) and get some regular sustained rest.
  • The belief of a mythical finish line.
    On a text thread a month ago, I wrote how I was going to stop living as if there was a mythical finish line.
    Especially related to my body, I tend to believe when I reach a certain number or mile marker, then I will have arrived. I think many of us are gripping tightly to a desperate wish that simply by landing with feet solidly in 2021, we will wipe the sweat from our foreheads and tears from our eyes and all will be well. As I wrote a couple of posts ago, there is no magic eraser for 2020. Hooray for the passage of this year in particular but many hard parts will remain. I am not trying to be a big-time downer but this is the reminder I am whispering to myself as to not be incredibly disappointed in a few days’ time. My prayer is to live each day and not try to live them in advance by gazing toward that flapping tape.

My husband and I have been consistently unburdening our storage rooms with items accumulated over the many years we have lived in our home. Some items are broken, out of date, were useful at one time but no longer. Our needs and intentions have changed over the decades. Every bag filled for Goodwill or to be recycled, not only clears physical space but also space in our souls. Often we look at each other and shake our heads unable to determine why a certain item exists upon our shelves. We declare we will never allow other people to give us their “discards”! The bullet list above is very similar to the physical items placed in the trunk of the car.

Sometimes it is necessary to remove what has been collected from others.

Sometimes it is time to remove what is no longer useful or serving a worthy purpose.

Sometimes its time to trash what is broken.

Sometimes it is simply about ridding your life of too much stuff to allow space to see yourself clearly.

May you approach this new year by removing what no longer fits and discovering breathing room.


I set an intention for 2020 to dust off this blog and be present more often.
Writing consistently and connecting with so many of you has been one of the richest gifts this year has bestowed on me.
I am forever grateful for the time each one of you took to click a link and read the words placed on my heart.

Joy be yours in the year to come,


4 thoughts on “breathing room

  1. Helen these are powerful words to ponder and to read. Here’s to clearing out all the “stuff” physical and psychical (is that a word?) and to trusting in our inner Jesus in us.

    I am so glad you dusted off your blog! Even tho’ I don’t read as often as I like I’m glad your emails are waiting in my Inbox. Here’s to the year ahead, one slow take at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Always a joy to meet you here. Thanks for digging deep and sharing your heart and the wisdom God promises to give us when we ask Helen. I will be asking more often with my continuing changes into early retirement due to disability this year.
    I appreciate your example to rid ourselves of unneeded material goods and the confirmation that it does affect how effective I am in daily life.. Bruce & I live in a small ADU & still collect too much! I prefer to give to Teen Challenge thrift store as their programs & focus are Christ centered unlike Goodwill’s. Examples: TC Thrift supports recovery homes, keeps prices low for those in need and gives seniors 20% off daily plus has color coded discounts. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

Go ahead and make my day! Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.