Just Breathe

“I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.” Ezekiel 37:5


I have had my share of medical issues that prevented me from being able to breathe which required me to have an inhaler to help expand my lungs properly. Eventually I had the added stress of life with abuse and what felt like the heaviness of the world on my chest making me feel like I couldn’t breathe. My anxiety had been so bad that I would go into a full-on panic attack that was making it hard to catch my breath. Several times it was so bad that I thought taking my own life would be better. God had much better plans for me. 


We started this year with the COVID-19 pandemic with symptoms of shortness of breath and related issues. If we contract the slightest cough, we immediately pay attention to our breathing. Is it a cold? Allergies? Or worse? It doesn’t matter if you are healthy or not, we are all being more aware of these symptoms and how it’s affecting our lungs.

We are asked to stay home to be safe, which in many cases may cause more stress and anxiety about how we are all going to make it through financially or emotionally. We have to cover our face with masks which is harder to breathe through. Our new norm is uncomfortable and to some, it’s too much to handle, and depression takes over. It seems to some that they are drowning in a sea of bad news and barely treading enough water to keep their head above it.


Breathing is the one thing we must all do to stay alive and is not something that we can take for granted. The gift of oxygen fills our lungs, reminding us of our dependency on God. Just as the Israelites attempted to hoard manna but found it rotten the next morning, we cannot hoard our breaths. We can only take the breath we are given, whether labored or not. Simply taking in a full breath of air is a way to reorient our hearts away from fear and toward trust. To ground ourselves deeper spiritually.


“God forms man from the dust and breathes life into his nostrils so that man becomes a living being.” Genesis 2:7


Jesus died on the cross. He stopped breathing and three days later, He rose again. His lungs were filled with the earth’s air. We must put our trust in Jesus that we can breathe freely. To be fully present to Him and to each other. Pay attention to the rise and fall of our chests, the blood pumping through our veins. Notice our presence, here and now, of the One who gives us breath.


Breathe! Don’t panic! Slow yourself down! May each breath help you to understand that everything is not as it seems, and things will get better. Connect with the life-giving word of God that is living and breathing. Your to do list will always be there. Another crisis or responsibility is around another corner. Your life matters and you will find a peace that can only be found by taking time to breathe in God’s rejuvenating word of life. 


“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid” John 14:27


Sincerely,

Shannon Stanley

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