13 Favorite Quotes from Catching Your Breath

Catching Your Breath is a breathtaking and honest read that reminds us that no matter how dark things may get, there’s always sunshine around the corner — and sometimes you just need the reminder.
— Zachary Houle
 

As we near the release of my new book, Catching Your Breath: The Sacred Journey from Chaos to Calm, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite quotes with you. This book is so exciting, because it is the most clear I have ever been about who I am and what I believe about things like faith, mental health, and self-care.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces of this new book. (Click here to pre-order today.)

Foreword (by Ed Bacon)

The issue in life is not whether we have wounds. The point is whether we understand that our wounds can be a source of power for us and others. The issue is not whether or not you have injuries. But are you willing to allow others to touch your wounds, empowering them to lead others toward wholeness, too?

Introduction

If we want to heal the deepest parts of our souls, it does take time, just like with any physical wound. But I know from years of personal experience that it also takes medication, therapy, self-compassion, stillness, a safe community, and willingness to take actionable steps to get better.

Chapter 1: Drowning

Beneath all the different things we think we need permission for, I believe what we need is permission to be ourselves. Permission to belong, just as we are. Mostly, I think we’re all in desperate need of permission to be human.

Chapter 2: Good News for Spiritual Misfits

Everyday spirituality is an invitation to open rather than close, to bloom rather than wilt, to listen rather than speak, to learn rather than attempt to convert.

Chapter 3: Nekkid

When we choose to become vulnerable, something inside longs to be courageous, to tell the truth, and to speak the hard-won wisdom. It's the soul that begs us to tell a better story, one more in line with the truth of our being. We are no longer bound by what the past says about us and our best efforts to keep it hidden. We aren’t trapped by the shameful lies that work so hard to hold us back from the best life has to offer. We are so much more than the residue of a terrible moment.

Chapter 4: Fully Known, Fully Loved

If you believe your story doesn’t matter, you’re all alone on your tiny island of insignificance, and hold all those secrets inside until you die, you have kept your one great gift from the rest of us. No, the gift isn’t your secret. It’s allowing those who care about you to know you completely.

Chapter 5: When You Believe You are Bad

No matter how we were raised or if we cling to faith of any sort, genuine love doesn’t have prerequisites. Grace doesn’t have qualifying criteria. Compassion has no strings attached. At the end of the day, it is more important to love my neighbors than to expect them to pass a litmus test on morality or religious fervor.

Chapter 6: Criticalizin’

Peace believes that the promise of a better tomorrow outweighs the difficulty of this particular moment.

Chapter 7: Throw Everything Over

When you’re in crisis mode, don’t feel like you have to force yourself to find immediate peace with God or other people. Those things will come later. But you'll never ease your restlessness - or learn to sit with it - until you learn to create peace with yourself.

Chapter 8: Saucer & Blow It

When we prevent ourselves from experiencing the full spectrum of human emotion, it's like we're sawing off an arm or leg with a dull butter knife. It's hard, painful, and unnecessary work. In denying ourselves the right to feel angry, sad, or disappointed - anything but joyful - we're amputating pieces of our souls. This just causes more trauma that will eventually, stubbornly, rise to the surface.

Chapter 9: Quiet AF

One of the biggest mistakes people make on the journey from chaos to calm is trying to do everything at once. They want to change their diet, exercise, meditate, get a life coach, and start journaling on day one. And the best advice I can give you is to take a deep breath, take it one step at a time, and, like we talked about in the last chapter, slow down. Don’t try to get from point A to point Z today. Just take a deep breath and the first step.

Chapter 10: A Dog Named Dudley

Self-care has saved my life and transformed me time and again. From the silent retreat that helped heal the brokenness of my marriage to learning to create healthy boundaries with toxic friends and family members, many forms of self-care have been part of my journey into calm. Self-care is personal. That’s why it’s called self - it’s different for everyone. So what is it for you?

Chapter 11: Watching Porn with Nanny

Hope is the resting place for abandoned wives and failed ministers. Hope is the dance floor for shattered dreams, long-since deferred. Hope is a promise that better days are coming.

From the back cover:

What if you could experience a new level of freedom, strength, healing, and energy?

Too many people are overwhelmed and holding onto deep suffering, unable to catch their breath in a world that tells them to fake it till they make it. As the pressure of fear, pain, anxiety, and anger build, sooner or later these individuals are going to explode—just like bestselling author and life coach Steve Austin did.

That’s no way to live.

With deep honesty, hilarious true stories, and refreshingly straight talk, Austin shares his personal journey from crippling anxiety and perfectionism to calm amid life’s inevitable chaos. He pulls no punches, revealing his darkest moments and the thoughts most people would be too afraid to admit.

Yet he offers hope. In these powerful pages, you’ll find simple ways to cultivate calm and practice self-care while living courageously and authentically.

Discover how to come up for air and breathe again.

...uncomfortably honest, remarkably compassionate, and beautifully rough around the edges. Thank you for your friendship, Steve. And thank you for this book.
— Tullian Tchividjian, author of One-Way Love, and Jesus + Nothing = Everything