At the end of 2015, my heart kept returning to fear. Not crippling fear, but a heart-racing, uneasy fear. With each varied situation, the adrenaline surged and my stomach flip-flopped.
Sometimes it was a feeling similar to being called on by the teacher after dozing off. A jolt into reality, but reality was twisted into thoughts of dread.
I don’t want my life to be ruled by fear.
I don’t want “fear” to be my one word for 2016. But what is the word that conqures fear and overcomes and is more than a mousy “not afraid?”
Breathe came to me one Sunday morning. The pastor spoke of God breathing life into man and how we can be ones who can breathe words of life to others.
“Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” Genesis 2:7
God breathes life into being. He breathes the Holy Spirit into the life of a believer filling him with all that is necessary for life and godliness. He makes the unliving alive with his breath.
I want life…life to the full. If that is truly what I want, then I have to take a deep breath and jump forward.
So what does it look like to breathe and not to fear? Fear comes. It’s not a choice altogether. I don’t know I have a choice prior to it coming. Once it’s there, trying to take a permanent root, I do have a choice. That choice is to breathe.
I literally that a deep breath. I fill my lungs and allow my chest to expand. Along with that breath, I remind myself of truth. Truth for the moment.
God is loving.
God is all-powerful.
God is in control.
Control is what I don’t have. Not being in control creates fertile ground for fear. When I breathe and remember God is in control, I can relax.
What if the thing I feared came true? God lets bad things happen, doesn’t he? Breathing and thinking about truth doesn’t keep tragedy from me. Reading the Bible tells me of countless godly men and women who faced trauma after trauma. Their faith didn’t prevent hardship. In many situations, their relationship with God caused hardship.
Integrity will cause hardship in the face of ones who are schemers.
Purity will cause hardship because people feel exposed.
Any kind of right living will rub up against another’s less-than-right living. No one likes to be exposed.
Hardship will come.
How does a breathing and telling oneself the truth help?
The breath is a way to connect body, mind, and soul. God’s breath was how life began for man. Without a breath, he was not living.
It is a reminder of the Creator and how life itself is bound up in him. Our bodies and our very soul are wrapped up in him. Without him, we don’t exist.
Our bodies do react to our thoughts and fears. Breathing helps tell the body to relax. It acknowledges the “something” that is creating tension.
Breathing is a cue to connect the mind and spirit.
I am often unaware of what is triggering my fears. The breath tells me to consider what is going on. Do I know? What is the fear?
Even if I think I know, I engage my spirit and connect with God. He knows what’s going on.
I speak the truth about myself.
In the process of asking God to give me a deeper understanding, I speak to him about my struggles.
Recently, when I took a deep breath, I discovered I was afraid of a number of situations not working out well. That is when I prayed. Body, mind, and spirit connected. My shoulders relaxed. My mind was set on living life fully engaged regardless of what lies ahead. My spirit connected with my Creator God. The course of my turned away from fear to a deep peace.
And that is how I intend to breathe.