Lately, my favorite thing to do is breathe.
I’m reminded of that particular Facebook page a few years back entitled exactly that: Breathing. If I took a shot in the dark, I would say half of my friends joined the hot page circa 2008. We were on to something. The respiratory system is crucial, as we also learned in Anatomy and Physiology classes. If you’re one of my doctor friends (I seem to have more of these recently), you especially understand the significance of the lungs.
Probably over the past year or so, I’ve heard the phrase “just breathe” from various people and multiple avenues. It’s great advice, right? It gleans peacefulness and relaxation. In my mind, it paints a picture of a person walking in nature, walking from everything and toward absolutely nothing. At the same time, that person is headed toward everything. He or she is simply being. Hakuna Matata.
Not more than a week ago, I actually did it. I finally took the advice to heart. I breathed. I closed my eyes and took the deepest, intentional breath I can remember since I was a kid. When the Dale siblings went to Dr. Adams for our yearly medical exams, I found it completely necessary to exaggerate to the millionth degree when it was my turn for the stethoscope. After all, I didn’t want my jovial, white-haired doc to have any reason to give me an injection or tell me to stop eating Pop Tarts. I loved Pop Tarts. That was my 10-year-old perfectionist brain. I still love Pop Tarts. I’m still a perfectionist.
I want this newfound hobby to become consistent and frequent. However, it’s more sacred than a hobby, because when I took that earnest breath a few days ago, I found freedom again. I remembered in that moment who I am and why I am. I remembered my Maker, the One who gave that breath and gives this one…and the next…and the one following.
And when I think of this intricacy, I can’t help but feel my soul come alive. I am reminded of the scripture in Acts 17:28.
“For in him we live and move and have our being.”
Briefly backtracking for some more context, I found that Paul is speaking to the people of Athens who are always busy searching for the latest fad (verse 21) in religion. He is preaching about Jesus to these multitudes who possessed religious spirits and had created many gods.
In response to their way of living, Paul proclaims some comforting and luminous words in verses 24-27.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”
I can breathe deep when I’m praising Him, basking in His goodness all the more.
I can breathe deep when I’m running out the door, hurriedly walking and prodding the girls to school in the mornings.
I can breathe deep when my mind is battling all the injustices throughout the world.
I can breathe deep as I ponder my unknown, yet terribly exciting future.
I can breathe deep. And in that breath, I seek him. I reach out for Him. Best of all, I find Him.
I can be still and know He is my Comforter, the One who provides, the One who gives that very breath with which I praise Him.
His presence is the only gift we need.