Have you ever tried to hold your breath? How long were you able to hold it before you started to get a headache or blackout? Thirty seconds? Perhaps a full minute? Whatever the length of time, I guarantee one thing – you eventually started breathing again! Of course, physically, we need oxygen to live, not only to fight whatever battles we face, but just to make it through the day moment by moment. So it is spiritually as well. And our spiritual breath is prayer. Two-way communication with the Holy Spirit, Father God, and Christ Jesus is as essential to spiritual life as the air in our lungs is to our physical life. It is the only way we will survive the journey full of life rather than full of death and defeat.
Life is hard.
No matter what stage of life you are currently in, anyone who has been on this earth long enough to take their first breath has experienced some degree of pain, stress, heartache, or hardship. Some more than others but nonetheless, the step programs, bookshelves lined with self-help material, Psychologist and Psychiatrists offices full of patients, and daily doses of social media drama are but a few affirmations that we all go through it – even Christians.
If you are currently caught up in a crushing trial, I’m not here to tell you what you already know. I’m not here to say that we should expect these things as Christians, or that all things work together for good (even though these things are true). I’m not here to tell you that there is a Christian program out there to mirror every secular program available and Christian counselors or doctors that are more relevant than others. I’m not even here to tell you that if you would only submit to one of those or follow all these steps, then everything will be OK. Anyone who is plugged in to a good church home or has a healthy support system and has been struggling for any length of time already knows these things, and perhaps you already know them as well. We hear them until we are blue in the face and can recite myriads of scripture, steps, platitudes, information, and general knowledge about our struggle by heart.
If this describes you, then there is one thing I already know. You are a warrior and you are fighting on many levels. So, my friend, I am here to remind you to breathe!
Perhaps you live with someone who is currently experiencing a crushing struggle and it has severely affected your relationship. Sometimes you are so exhausted you literally run out of energy and you no longer know what to do. You’ve played the part of the Holy Spirit on behalf of someone. You push, prod, guide, stand by, sometimes inadvertently enable. You follow the advice of every friend, mentor, pastor, teacher and counsellor. Sometimes you know in your heart you need to step out of the way and let God be God but it is so hard to turn over that control because OMG, what if…?!! And then comes the “no, I just can’t…” So even though you are literally hanging on by a thread, you continue to fight all those battles without taking a breath. You feel alone, done, and that you have nothing left to give.
Perhaps you are the person who is struggling. Whether it be because of an addiction or a health or mental issue or just having to deal with all the baggage you’ve collected from all the brokenness you’ve experienced along the way. You, too, have tried every magic pill, every step program, believed every advertisement, followed every advice. You start with enthusiasm only to find after a short while that you don’t have the desire, will, self-discipline, or strength to make it all the way through – and so the cycle starts over and each time it does the spiral gets more out of control until you just feel like you want to give it all up and somehow walk away from all the pain, but you can’t.
Breathe! Breathe the spiritual breath of the ALMIGHTY GOD who fills your spiritual lungs with oxygen! No matter what you are facing, the only thing that will help you mightily overcome is your relationship with God. The ability to rise up with wings as eagles, experience times of refreshing, take courage, and hear the truth, love, and affirmations He speaks over you, and live life as an overcomer, comes from abiding-in-and-being-one-with Him. He is the author and finisher of your faith, the lover of your soul, and you are the Apple of His eye. So remember, just breathe!
Psalms 46:10 (KJV) Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Acts 17:28 (KJV) For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV) Pray without ceasing.
Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
John 14:27 (KJV) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Joshua 1:9 (KJV) Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (KJV) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints