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May 26, 2018

Breathe in the Busyness

By Daniel Im

There’s this app on my watch that reminds me to breathe.

I’m not quite sure how to turn the setting off, but a few times a day, I hear this annoyingly soothing little jingle that reminds me it’s time to breathe.

And to be completely honest, though I’ve had this watch for a while now, I’ve only done the breathing exercise once.

Why? Because it always prompts me to breathe at the worst times. I’m either in a meeting, fighting through traffic, writing, or in a conversation with someone else.

Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? I mean…how can anyone be too busy to breathe?

When I did that breathing exercise for the first time, one thing I immediately realized was just how shallow and quick my normal breaths were.

The fact is, we don’t normally breathe deeply like that, even though it’s proven to…

  • Reset our system
  • Slow our heartbeat
  • Lower/stabilize our blood pressure
  • And release toxins

You would think that those reasons would be enough to motivate us to slow down and breathe deeply, but they simply don’t cut it. Why is this the case?

According to an experiment at the University of Toronto, individuals who are paid by the hour volunteer less of their time and tend to feel more antsy when they are not working.

In another study from Sogang University in Seoul, Korea, one researcher found that among Americans, “complaints about insufficient time come disproportionately from well-off families. Even after holding constant the hours spent working at jobs or at home, those with bigger paychecks still felt more anxiety about their time.”

And in 2011, Gallup reported that “The more cash-rich working Americans are, the more time-poor they feel.”

Here’s the issue.

We are busy because we want to get to a point where we can rest, as quoted from an Economist article, “being busy can make you rich,” however, the problem with that is the very fact that “being rich makes you feel busier still.”

What’s ironic is that the more you are financially able to buy what you want, go where you wish, and do what you please, the more this actually breeds impatience…

So what’s the solution?

Well, as we see in Ecclesiastes 2:4-10, it’s not to amass possessions and seek contentment in the stuff of life. 

4 I increased my achievements. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made gardens and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them. 6 I constructed reservoirs for myself from which to irrigate a grove of flourishing trees. 7 I acquired male and female servants and had slaves who were born in my house. I also owned livestock—​large herds and flocks—​more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.8 I also amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I gathered male and female singers for myself, and many concubines, the delights of men. 9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; my wisdom also remained with me. 10 All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them. I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles.

Solomon experienced abundance in everything…

  • He had that HGTV show home.
  • His home had a real stone fireplace, not fake airstone.
  • He had land…a lot of it.
  • He was wiser than anyone else.
  • He had an army of employees working for him.
  • Money wasn’t an issue. He probably had more of an issue trying to find a place to store it all.
  • Entertainment, pleasure, and sex…he had it all, anytime he wanted.
  • He was successful according to all “earthly standards.”
  • The life he lived is the life that commercials and this world tell us that we need.

But after achieving all of this, look at what he said in verse 11…

11 When I considered all that I had accomplished and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind. There was nothing to be gained under the sun.

The things of this earth do not satisfy. They always come up short.

So don’t repeat the same mistakes that Solomon made. Learn from his experience. Learn from his life.

Seek rest and satisfaction in the one who can restore your soul, renew your life, lead you along the right path, grant you wisdom, and help you make the right decisions.

If you do this, then your perspective will change and you will grow in gratitude, experience true joy and pleasure, and realize that life is not about your temporary mission, but about participating in the great, grand, and eternal mission of God.

Start by resting in Jesus—the shepherd of your soul.

  • Mow your lawn tomorrow
  • Go shopping tomorrow
  • Enjoy God’s creation
  • Enjoy one another
  • Delight yourself in the Lord
  • Eat, drink, and enjoy today
  • And as you do it all, thank God at every moment
  • Today, breathe deeply and worship our Lord

It’s as one of my friends says, “if every breath is from God, then every breath should be for God.”


The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
he leads me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
as long as I live.


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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