A woman returned to our biweekly intensive workout class after more than a month, determined to jump back into it. Since she’d been there, the routines had intensified. Several of us encouraged her, insuring her she could definitely handle it but to be sure she took it at her own pace and didn’t push too hard too quickly.
She made it through the warm-ups and first song with no problems. The next song was more challenging, but she made it again. Then came a series of floor work, including a challenging series of push-ups. Halfway through the routine, she headed for the bathroom. She was back by the time the song ended, and I made eye contact to be sure she was okay. I didn’t want to make a big deal about her slipping out for a moment in case she was embarrassed she hadn’t finished. Not to mention, going to the bathroom is something not everyone wants to openly discuss!
She caught my eye and instantly confessed, “That was my own fault. I just forgot to breathe and got dizzy. So much for not trying too much, too fast!”
Breathing is important. In fact, it’s life-sustaining. Stop breathing and you’ll stop living. It’s that simple.
It’s amazing how many issues are related to breathing, yet we take it for granted. Minor anxiety can often be averted through regular breathing. It helps with pacing during running and other exercise. Its regularity provides stability and nourishment, and its irregularity indicates issues to be addressed.
Breathing appears early in Scripture: Then the Lord God took dust from the ground and formed a man from it. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nose, and the man became a living person. (Genesis 2:7)
Breath is God-given. It’s life-sustaining. We can use all kinds of relaxation breathing techniques, but there’s one that is above all others. Anything that draws us to God, emptying ourselves of ourselves and allowing him to fill him with himself, is desirable. You can fully access God. As a follower of Christ, you’ve been blessed with the Holy Spirit.
The word for spirit comes from a word that means breath, air, or life. Perfect, isn’t it? The Holy Spirit is breath, air and life! We need air to live, and the Holy Spirit equips us to live our faith on a daily basis. We can’t live on stale air. Our bodies use oxygen and get rid of waste through the carbon dioxide. We use what we need and get rid of the rest. If we don’t access fresh air, we can’t live for long.
The Holy Spirit is always fresh. He only pours into us what we need. There’s no waste in what he gives us. He’s completely nourishing, but we have to inhale. The Holy Spirit is active. When we yield to him, we will move. We’ll grow. We can also be tossed in wind, and to be honest, living a life of faith can feel like being tossed in the wind at times. But God doesn’t aimlessly toss us in the air. He knows exactly where the winds are carrying us and at what rate.
As always, God invites us to be active in faith. Breath isn’t nourishing unless we breathe. We must inhale. In the same sense, we must yield to the Holy Spirit to get the full nourishment and guidance. If you hold your breath, you trap the carbon dioxide, the waste of daily living, that needs to escape, and you block the inflow of refreshing oxygen that refreshes and sustains your body, so you can do what needs to get done. You can be who God created you to be. He didn’t create you and walk away. He gave you life-sustaining breath. Use it well. Otherwise, you might end up face down on the floor in the middle of a series of push-ups.