I have been doing a good amount of yoga lately. It is so challenging for me. I am not naturally flexible but the hardest part for me is to BREATHE! One would think this would be easy because we need to breathe (aka oxygen intake) to survive. However, when it comes to intentional breathing, I can’t seem to do it. I can’t simultaneously do a yoga movement and breathe at the same time.
This applies to my personal life as well. If I am wound up with anxiety, my husband tells me to take a deep breath but that is the last thing I want to do. What I want to do is hold it all in so I don’t have to let it go. I want to hold on to whatever is going on with fear of losing control over it.
I think this is how I am with God too. I want to be in control of whatever the situation is at hand that I forget to depend on God. I forget that He takes our anxieties away and in Him we can find peace.
Isn’t that the whole point of breathing though? In yoga, you breathe through the movement to get you through it; in life, you need to breathe through the anxious moments to get through it. Ultimately, God gives us the strength and the comfort to get through it.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Here are three tips that have helped me calm down and relax (the bible verses are from “The Message” translation).
BREATHE: God is the source of our breath. Take 5 deep breaths. Release whatever you are holding on to. Tears might follow but it will feel so good to let it go.
You’ve always given me breathing room, a place to get away from it all. A lifetime pass to your safe-house, an open invitation as your guest. You’ve always taken me seriously, God, made me welcome among those who know and love you. Psalms 61:3-5.
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7.
With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. Psalms 119:73.
Use “BREATH PRAYERS”: (small, under-the-breath, second-long prayers) or bible verses to remind you of God’s truths about our identity in Him. I have found this to be so calming in those moments of anxiety. God is the light at the end of the dark tunnel.
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. 1 Peter 2:9.
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to. But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own. 1 John 3:1-3.
One of the many reasons I love God is that he is patient and doesn’t do the “I told you so.” After I calm down, God lovingly reveals the truth behind why I was feeling that way and reminds me of His almighty power in all situations. I usually end up laughing at myself for my ridiculousness because God is over here like HELLO! I was here all along. With that, I know that I do not need to be in control or be perfect. God makes everything right again.