Breathe. Just Breathe. It’s a phrase we hear all the time. Sometimes it is a little out of context — like those old sitcoms when a couple is having a baby in the middle of the night and the crazy husband is driving to the hospital, bags packed, but all in a panic. He assures his labouring wife to “breathe” and everything will be just fine. I used to say it to my middle kid who struggled with anxiety. Focus. Count to ten. Breathe. Or we remind ourselves to remain calm when the university acceptance letter arrives. Or the call comes from the doctor’s office with your latest test results. Breathing seems like such a simple thing to do until you forget how. Forget how to breathe? That seems strange, considering our sympathetic nervous system jumps in to make sure we don’t die from lack of oxygen during stressful times in our lives. The so-called “flight or fight” response makes us breathe. Still, we need reminding now and then.
Trained athletes are good at breathing. Stig Severinsin (age 39) just broke the record for holding his breath the longest — a whopping 22 minutes (according to the Huffington post). You have to train for that, though. The average lung capacity of an adult is about 6 litres of air. Factor in age, gender, health and stress level, and we get a slightly different picture — but 6 litres is still a fairly large amount. Interestingly enough, though, great studies have been done showing that if we slow down our breathing and focus, we can improve that number significantly. We need to breathe to survive. However, I’m not here to present the health benefits of breathing techniques, nor am I an expert in the science of lung capacity. In fact, walking this new puppy of ours in the heat of this summer has proven I need some serious work in the shortness of breath department! But that’s a different story altogether!
So, why do I bring it up? As I mentioned last week (what?! You are not caught up on our weekly muses? Join the adventure, here!). I’ve just finished a short devotional on rest and refreshment. Day 4 of the study, a familiar verse struck me in a unique way (don’t you love when that happens with scripture?!) Here’s the verse:
Perhaps, it is a familiar one to you, too. Now look at the first part again: Scripture is God-breathed. Have you ever thought about God breathing? An interesting muse. For me, it is a reminder that the scriptures I study have been given focus and deliberated before being marked down for generations. Perhaps the words were full of sadness, knowing how fallible humanity will be. How disobedient and far from God we will wander. Perhaps the words were in great anticipation of good things and God had to “control His breathing” to find just the right words to speak in order to get His message across. Or perhaps He whispered the words under His breath with a hush of secrecy, knowing the splendors of Heaven and other spiritual secrets were far too grand for our capacities to handle just yet.
Above all else, I am positive the scriptures were focused words. Focus. Count to ten. Breathe. Fully equipping each of us — all the people chosen to walk upon this earth — to do good work. Mind blowing, actually, that each one of us have specific gifts, talents and words spoken just for us. And so, in turn, we too must focus our thoughts. Rest. Breathe. Focus on the thoughts given to us and meditate daily on the words. I’m trying. Sometimes I need a good reminder to breathe, too.
Will you join me, friend, in this faith journey of breathing slower, focusing on the Words of God, breathed with life giving essence for each one of us? Join the adventure! See you next week!