30-Second Anytime Break

30-Second Anytime Break - a practice in mindfulness meditation for Christians

I got the sweet gift of a 2-minute reset at a women's retreat last weekend. Since coming home, I've used the same practice for shorter resets of 30 seconds or less throughout the day when I need it most. I'll share my experience, then share how to do a 30-second anytime break yourself.

We were in a seminar on motherhood where a psychologist was sharing about mindful parenting. Mindfulness--it's the opposite of mindlessness. It's what helps us make better decisions. Choices that combine our facts and feelings to act in a Christ-centered way rather than lashing out in exhausted emotions.

To show us a little example of proactive mindfulness, she had us all put down our pens, paper, cups, or phones we were holding. She had us set our hands in our laps, relax our muscles, and take deep, slow breaths in through our noses and out through our mouths. With each breath, we intentionally lengthened the breath, breathing in slowly through our noses, and taking even longer to blow the breath out through our mouths.

She told us to focus on the verse "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." She said that thoughts come in our minds at a crazy rate per second, and we have to help train our minds which thoughts to settle on. So for two minutes we would focus on this Bible text, and for any other thoughts that came to mind we'd simply say in our minds "next."

When she started the timer, the room was quiet, our eyes were closed, and we focused. I thought about the text, and quickly found myself thinking of all the things I wanted Christ to do in my life with His strength. Stabilize our finances and revive our marriage and speak through me in the seminar I was supposed to give during the next session.

Instead of letting my mind dwell on my personal areas of weakness and need, I said "next." Even if they related somewhat to doing the things in my life through Christ, I said "next" and instead focused on Christ.

Soon, behind my closed eyes, it was just me sitting cross-legged with white all around and the words "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" stacked in large black block letters filling the space directly in front of me. A new thought or distraction would come to mind, I would say "next," and it would bounce off the word Christ as He reclaimed His spot as the focus, the source of strength, in that text, and now in my life.

My nerves and anxiety and obsessive problem-focusing settled. By the end of the 2 minutes, my stomach softened, my shoulders loosened, my heart steadied, and I felt such calm in the fact that it's not about what I can do or what I want Christ to do. The whole point is that Christ can do all things, and He will do some of those things through me when I stop obsessing and dictating.

When I find myself obsessing and getting anxious, I remember mindfulness. Instead of mindlessly letting my mind wander, I bring it back into focus on Christ. Meditating on His truth and light.

I need to do that for longer periods to start each morning and end each day, and maybe taking a break each afternoon. In between, when my shoulder's in knots and my stomach's full of nerves over I don't know what, I can take a 30-second break. A refocusing.

An anytime break to practice mindfulness. Give it a try. ↓


Close your eyes.

Loosen your muscles.

Slow your breath.

Deep, long, slow breath in through your nose.

Longer, slower breath out through your mouth.

Another deeper, longer slower breath in through your nose.

Another longer, slower, breath out through your mouth.

Now set your mind on truth. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Or God reaches down and saves me because He delights in me. Or any Bible text or simple statement that focuses on Jesus.

When other thoughts come to mind (because they will), say "next."

Just loosen, relax, calm, breath, and focus your mind on truth.

Do this for a set amount of time, or for a few breaths, or briefly before you address the child or task screaming for your attention.

Reset. And repeat as often as needed throughout the day.

Practice mindfulness so you can act in love and truth, rather than mindlessly defaulting to negativity or despair.


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