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'Don't Hold Your Breath
by Lisa O'Neal
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“Breathe!” (sigh) ”Do it again! (sigh) How was it for you? Was it short or shallow? Was it long and intense? Did you have to find your instruction manual? Did you have to rummage through the junk drawer in your kitchen to find the illustration manual?

For many of us, not much effort went in to these breaths. Perhaps not much thought either. Very simple, you breathe in, you breathe out. Many of us probably have not thought at all about the mechanics of breathing.

Simply, we take air in and our body expels air out. Good clean air in, bad polluted oxidant air out. There was a time when we did breathe in good clean air, no matter where we lived. Except for this article, our thought may have been “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” However, consider how much its mechanics is like our Christian walk. The good comes in and drives the bad out...

In the 42 years I have been on this earth, there have been two things, which have caused me to become very conscious of my breathing. Thankfully, they are not tragic events such as suffocation or asphyxiation.

One was a few years ago. While on a cruise, I attempted scuba diving. There I am 10 feet below the surface, mask on my face, tank on my back, fish all around, and only a hose in my mouth keeps me alive. Instead of relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery, I concentrated on my breathing and tried to keep rhythm with the sound of the regulator (swoosh swash, swoosh swash).

The other situation involves moments before a surgery. That moment when they put the oxygen mask on your face and gently whisper, “This is just oxygen.” Funny, this oxygen does not smell like the oxygen I breathe every other minute of my life. Once again, I am trying to breathe with the rhythm that comes from within a hose. I am thinking, “Do I breathe slow or long? Deep or short?”

Breathing sustains life. Yet in our innocence as children, we make a game out of it. “Bet I can hold my breath longer than you can.” “Give me my toy or I am going to hold my breath!” Later in our sarcasm as adults, we try to make a point with it. “You want me to do that! Do not hold your breath“ “You are waiting on what? I would not hold my breath if I were you!”

It is amazing to me how we take the most serious of things in life for granted. As simple as breathing is, there must be more to it bringing air in and blowing it out. There are college degrees offered for respiratory specialists, cardiologists, heart surgeons, and pulmonary doctors. Medical volumes pertaining to the intricacies and the mechanics on breathing are more than we have time for today. However, in our small snapshot, let us agree it is important; we do not give much thought to it; and we have to have it. Without it, we suffer cardiac arrest.

Some 8 ½ years ago I had an arrested development. Jesus made my heart quit beating for the world and start it pumping for Him. He came in, cleaned me (and continuously cleanses me) and made a home in me. With His fresh breath of air, everything became new. The trees were greener. The sun was brighter. The wind was crisper on my face. A child’s laughter was sweeter to my ears. The Our Father brought tears to my soul. The Savior on the cross took my breath away.

The phrase “God-breathed” became alive. Charles Darwin on his deathbed called for his Bible and spoke about the holiness of God and “the grandeur of this Book.” Ahhh, its very words breathed by God. To ponder God breathed into Adam and he came alive. Everywhere I looked, God breathed.

It was not long I soon found not every believer saw what I saw. I could not understand it. It was a concept I could not grasp. Many of the believers walked in God’s garden a lot longer than I. Yet, they could not see the breath of God. Therefore, I met with Him. Surely, He could explain it. How can I explain what it meant to pray and think of God 24 hours a day?

In the silence, I waited. In the quietness of time and stillness of air, I sat. Then God said, “Breathe.” I replied, “What?” He repeated it, “Breathe.” I did. I took in a full, deep breath. I let it out very slowly and very deliberately. I waited. Then God said, “Do it again.” I did it again, this time I took in a slower, deeper breath. I let it out so slowly my breath trembled. Then He asked, “How was it?” “Did you have to think about it?” Of course my reply was no. God said, “You got it!” You can only imagine my surprise. “What you mean I got it? What that I get?”

God replied, “That’s it! You got it. Tell them they are to think of Me as unconsciously as they think of breathing.”

Webster’s dictionary has yet to define the electricity that charged my body at that moment. Something so simple yet so profound. Now when I receive the look of bewilderment or confusion, I simply look at them and say “Breathe.” After they have had a nice relaxing sigh, I grin and say, “That’s it! Now you’ve got it!” Then I stroll away.

Dear reader, if you find yourself in the mall and stuck in the line with the slowest cashier; in rush hour when you are sitting at the red light that is not making your day; at you next doctor’s appointment that went from a 15 minute wait time to a one-hour sit-in. Or when your next airport layover turns into a sleepover; or passing up the highway exit you have taken for the past 20 years and have to travel miles out of your way to turn around and get back home – take a moment. Look around – and breathe.

Breathe in and breathe out. Ever so slowly - ever so deeply - ever so deliberately. Then listen. For surely God is in the place. Waiting to speak to you; waiting to show you a need; or waiting to answer a call.

He is waiting to breathe on you.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joyce Reed 01 Aug 2005
Dear Lisa, This is such a beauty of writing...I have loved reading and now everytime I fall in a pit of this world I will wait and Breathe...wait for Him to Breathe in me. Thanks for sharing. God bless you and yours. Only Joy


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