In Others’ Words: Breathing

I took breathing for granted until I developed asthma.

I had years of inhaling and exhaling without giving it a second thought — I mean, isn’t respiration supposed to be automatic? And then, within months of my family’s move to Colorado, suddenly my chest got tight when I worked out at the gym.

No big deal, right?

I didn’t have asthma.

I convinced myself of that … until the fall day my husband and I tried to outrace a snowstorm on our bikes. We beat the storm. But I collapsed on our bed, unable to draw a complete breath.

I was frantic.

That day, life constricted to my feeble attempts to inhale … exhale … inhale … exhale … inhale … exhale …

The little amount of air I was getting into my lungs wasn’t enough.

Sometimes life is like that.

I’m cramming it full of this, that, and the other thing … and I’m forgetting to breathe. I look ahead and every hour of every day from here to eternity — really, it feels that long — is full to overflowing with too much to do … and no time to breathe.

In God’s economy, life is breathe. Think about it: Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

If God equates life to breath … who am I to make it anything else than that?

In Your Words: Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life? How do you add breathing space to your life?

***

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26 Comments

  1. March 20, 2013, 4:35 am   /  Reply

    Sometimes life is so full I’m bent over at the waist, panting like I’ve sprinted from one finish line to the next. I miss days like those of my childhood when I’m out of breath and exhausted from the JOY of running around. Since I don’t want to live with regrets, I force myself to schedule days of carefree breathing…hanging out with friends and laughing until catching my breath is a struggle.

    • March 20, 2013, 7:04 am   /  Reply

      I like and need your idea of forcing myself to schedule days of carefree breathing. 🙂

      • March 20, 2013, 7:15 am   /  Reply

        Me too. I’m pulling out my calendar now.

    • March 20, 2013, 3:01 pm   /  Reply

      While breathing is supposed to be automatic, you’re so right, Lisa: We need to schedule breathing space into our lives!

  2. March 20, 2013, 6:28 am   /  Reply

    Love Lisa’s response! A day scheduled to just have fun. Mostly I go take a nap. lol. Then when I wake up, I have a second wind…and somedays I do have free days where I can do whatever I want to.

    • March 20, 2013, 3:01 pm   /  Reply

      I vote for naps too, Pat!

  3. March 20, 2013, 6:44 am   /  Reply

    Working on this. It’s a daily exercise and some days I get away with little breaths. But I love the moments I breathe deeply and take it all in so I have more to give out.

    • March 20, 2013, 3:02 pm   /  Reply

      I ever truly valued deep breaths (literal and emotional) until I developed asthma.

  4. Jessica R. Patch
    March 20, 2013, 6:55 am   /  Reply

    I know our brains simply tell us to breathe and we do it without thinking, but when it comes to spiritual breathing, I have to be conscious about it. I have to throw off weights that hinder my breathing. Learn to say no to underwater activities because I just don’t have enough air in the tank to do it all. And I have to make time to swim in the washing waters of the word (no air tank required lol) and that always expands my lungs. Like swimmers who practice holding their breath under water so they can stay under longer. It’s like that.

    • March 20, 2013, 3:03 pm   /  Reply

      Love the analogy you drew, Jess. And I also know how you value the Word — and encourage others to do the same!

  5. March 20, 2013, 7:08 am   /  Reply

    I go through seasons of busy-ness, where there doesn’t seem to be time for breathing. After a couple weeks of that, I’ve determined to slow down this week and breathe. Last night, I had cuddle time with my boys. Good breathing via laughter there. Time with family, watching a movie with my husband, curled up in his arms, that’s breathing.

    Taking day trips with the family, or getting together with friends. As I’m writing, I realize my breathing comes in the company of those I love.

    • March 20, 2013, 3:03 pm   /  Reply

      It’s funny how breathing and laughter can so often go hand in hand …

  6. March 20, 2013, 7:17 am   /  Reply

    Must have been scary, Beth. I’ve had a moment or two of that, but nothing extended. I won’t ever think of breathing quite the same. Thanks for a thought-filled post.

    • March 20, 2013, 3:04 pm   /  Reply

      I admit, the asthma attack was one of the scariest times of my life. The whole “I REALLY REALLY REALLY can’t breathe!” feeling? Don’t. Like. It.

  7. March 20, 2013, 7:49 am   /  Reply

    I tend to breath in just enough to survive. But my husband told me the other day that we need to get into a more normal rhythm…that we couldn’t just keep going at a frantic pace all the time. So I’m trying out a new schedule where I leave a few evenings open and commit only a few to writing. I’ll likely still be writing just as much, but it leaves open time for breathing, catching up, and spending time relaxing with my honey. And so far, I’ve actually found myself more refreshed for those nights when I focus heavily on writing.

    • March 20, 2013, 12:47 pm   /  Reply

      You have a smart husband. 🙂 Mine likes to go through our calendars together regularly so we can make sure we’re not doing too much. It works. Most of the time. 🙂

    • March 20, 2013, 3:05 pm   /  Reply

      Lindsay,
      You bring up an important point: How sometimes others help us see where our breathing needs to be adjusted — and help us achieve the right rhythm.

  8. March 20, 2013, 8:23 am   /  Reply

    I used to rush from one activity to the next. Not so much now. Since I added workouts and walking to my days, I have some “me time” to care for my body, but, to my delight, it ministers to my soul as well.

    • March 20, 2013, 3:06 pm   /  Reply

      Walking … ah, great ways to catch a breath. My husband and I love to walk and talk together. Sometimes when we’ve been especially rushed, we find ourselves just inhaling and exhaling — and sighing — as we catch our breaths.

  9. March 20, 2013, 8:44 am   /  Reply

    I had no idea that you have asthma, Beth. I love how you allow God to use something that could turn you sour, to convey spiritual truth with open lungs. And WOW, what a convicting quote! Yesterday, I took a day off from work just to breathe. Yes, really! I had been going non-stop and needed a day just to putter. And read. And pray. And nap. Play in the gardens. And breathe. Just breathe. My work peeps understood and I feel tons better today. Thanks for this great reminder that breath is life. Beautiful!

    • March 20, 2013, 3:07 pm   /  Reply

      I like to act as if I don’t have asthma, Donna, because I didn’t have asthma for so many years of my life. But the reality is, I do have asthma — and I can’t forget it — that would be dangerous.

  10. March 20, 2013, 10:48 am   /  Reply

    Such a beautiful lesson, Beth. Thank you.

  11. March 20, 2013, 11:39 am   /  Reply

    On my mission trips to Bolivia, I’ve frequently been at 15,500 feet,once even up to 16,500. That high up, the air holds 40% less oxygen. We’d see all the locals going about their day and we were unable to walk 3 steps without wheezing. One trip, we had to climb a trail out of the village, up to the roads to get to our jeeps. I have no idea how long the trail was, because the ascent was 1000 feet. It was literally “step-step-breathe-breathe-step-step-breathe-breathe”. And the type of breathing that was needed was rapid, short sucks of air in, then a slow exhale. Not a slow deep breath in. NO. The breathing we had to do was NOT what seemed normal to us. We had to trust our leaders otherwise we’d either pass out, or faint. 😉

    We are teaching our kids to pull the plug when they get worn out. Because they won’t do it themselves. I know when I’ve reached my limit, so does my husband. We have to change our patterns and do what seems un-natural in order to adapt to what is needed.

    BTW, a Quechua man did that hill. With our generator on his back. He wasn’t even winded.

    • March 20, 2013, 3:09 pm   /  Reply

      You, my friend, have lived quite the life.

      • March 20, 2013, 4:31 pm   /  Reply

        Without a single parole violation!!

        😉

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