Breathe. Relinquish. Repeat.

Apr 30, 2012

“Help. I don’t know how I’m going to do this.”

I shot off the 9-1-1 text to a friend. I’d just returned home from one trip, and had only 36 hours at home before leaving again. Laundry needed to be done, the suitcase re-packed, not to mention children, a husband and a house in desperate need of TLC. And I had no emotional or physical reserves left.

I LOVE what I do. I love meeting new people, love sharing stories and truth, love seeing the look of hope reflected off the faces of those who are suffering. But that evening I’d reached the end of my strength, the limit of my ability. I felt myself crumbling. And the thought of doing even laundry made me want to curl up in a corner and disappear.

Who are you kidding? You’re an imposter. You have no business trying to inspire and encourage others. Look at you—you’re a wreck! Exhausted, weary. You don’t have what it takes. This proves what everyone already knows. You should quit. 

Overcome by taunts of inadequacy, I sent out the phone text to a friend, someone I considered strong, a warrior. And if ever I needed a warrior to pull me out of this pit, it was now.

Within the hour, she replied. I expected a sermon, maybe a verse and three or four spiritual points.

Instead, she offered this:

“Breathe. Relinquish. Repeat.”

Breathe: The intake of oxygen, the in-and-out that happens 12-20 times a minute, 24 hours a day. Without thought or attention. Without effort. Breathe. You’re alive, Michele. You’re living. A real flesh-and-blood life. Stop worrying for just one minute. And savor it. Breathe.

Relinquish: It’s not about you. In fact, all this has very little to do with you. Relinquish, Michele. You didn’t know what life would look like when you filled your schedule a year ago. But HE did. Let him handle it. Let Him do His job. He does it much better than you anyway. Just show up and see what He will do. Relinquish.

Repeat: The opportunity to receive a fresh start today, and new mercies in the morning. The ability to inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale as many times as needed until the panic recedes, the weariness eases and you can tackle this moment. No more, no less. Repeat, Michele. You will have to do this again and again over the next month. But you don’t have to do handle all those days all today. That’s the beauty of one-day-at-a-time living. If you try to tackle more than that at once you won’t survive. But you can do this moment, this day. Breathe. Relinquish. Repeat.

If you’re at the end of your means, without the resources to do anymore, I have no squeaky-clean sermon or vacuous platitudes. I give you, instead, the words that rescued me a couple weeks ago, and gave me the breath and space to live one day, one inhale at a time.

Breathe. Relinquish. Repeat. As often as necessary.

You can do this.

How do you cope with moments of weariness or inadequacy?


  1. Jerolyn

    Thank you!!

    • Michele

      You’re so welcome, Jerolyn. 🙂

  2. kellie

    Thank you for this honest post and thank you to your 9-1-1 friend for the simplicity and power of her reply. Friends are so very important.

    • Michele

      Yes, they are. Thank you for your comment, Kellie. Glad we’re in this together.

  3. Susan

    Sounds like a great title for a book and movie!
    I like the point – Relinquish – stop trying to control, for He is in control. I always forget that one.
    Take care and be safe.

    • Michele

      Ooooh, I think you’re right! Time to start plotting ideas … Thanks, Susan. He IS in control.

  4. Jackie

    Great post Michele! You continue to inspire through your struggles – even if it doesn’t feel like it.

    • Michele

      Thanks for the encouragement, Jackie!

  5. suzy sammons

    Michele! Isn’t it weird that your struggles are avenues for another’s healing? Crazy. You are amazing.
    I find that God has thresholds for me, and we’re only meant to cross one at a time… it’s His fabulous design, greater than ours. Breathing: good. You are a beautiful servant and I pray for your feet to be guided by your heart and your energy be sustained. I know it will.

    • Michele

      Thresholds are life-giving for me. You’re right–they MUST be crossed only one at a time, and at the RIGHT time. No sooner, no later. The trick is discerning the timing of each.

  6. Bill Blankschaen

    Thanks, Michele for being transparent. It is a daily thing isn’t it, this process whereby we must remind ourselves that we are not in control — and that’s a good thing! Like your site design by the way.

    • Michele Cushatt

      Yes, Bill. A daily decision. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  7. Tor Constantino, MBA

    Michele, fantastic advice – so glad I found you on Michael Hyatt’s site!!!


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