As we head into the new month, God has been speaking to me about the power of breathing. Yoga and new age practitioners are notorious for talking about the breath in a worldly or misguided spiritual context, but let it be known the breath was God’s first. There’s nothing woo woo about the breath. The breath is holy. For it’s in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), and the breath we breathe is the breath He gave to us.
In Genesis 2:7, God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Again in John 20:22, we see Jesus breathe on His disciples and fill them with the Holy Spirit. Without this breath, we cease to have life on this earth. So, if God is the God of life and the enemy of our souls is, as John 8:44 shows us, pro-death — a murderer from the beginning — then being aware of and thankful for the gift of breath, this life, is a powerful thing.
Perhaps that’s why scientific study after study after study is showing that making space to be conscious of our breathing can change our lives for the better. To quote Duke Health, “The simple act of conscious breathing can yield many benefits for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. From stress reduction to improved focus, enhanced emotional regulation, and better sleep, scientific research supports the positive impact of breathing exercises. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to pause, close your eyes, and take a few deep, intentional breaths. Your body and mind will thank you for it.”
What’s most interesting to me is that to experience the benefits of breathing, we first have to make room to quiet and separate ourselves from all of the distractions of this world. To be still and know that He is God and that this very breath we breathe came from Him. This is countercultural from the stressful world we live in that just wants to keep us busy.
You see, the name of the game for the enemy since the beginning was always to distract us from what we already had. Adam and Eve already were like God. They were created in His very image. But he made them think that they were lacking. Similarly, today he distracts us with stress and chaos. The temptation in times of stress is to tense up and for our breathing to become shallow (or for us to hold our breath). I don’t have space to share the detrimental impacts of this in this blog, but suffice to say that it’s not good for us. Being unconscious of our breathing during times to stress can hijack our nervous system, bodily functions, emotions and so much more.
We can begin to think we’re broken or doomed to be an anxious person, but sometimes all we need to do is stop and breathe. Sure, there is a place for other helps, including medication if the Lord leads you to it, but I’m telling you. Take a week to make conscious breathing and becoming aware of Emmanuel, God with us, a priority. Practice conscious breathing the moment you wake up, for several minutes on and off throughout the day, and before you go to bed. For a solid week. As you breathe, imagine Christ in you, the hope of glory, supplying you with every breath — keeping you alive and safe. Know that He loves you and He is your peace. Don’t overanalyze your breathing, just be aware of how nice it is to breathe in His peace, and out the stress, doubt, frustration, or whatever you’ve been holding inside.
There’s power in the blood of Christ that saves us from sin, and there’s power in the breath of God that gives us life.