Writing in company this morning with the bloggers gathered at Five Minute Friday, on the word prompt “Breathe.”

“I’m in the wrong lane!” I realize. My memorized directions served me well till now, but they only went this far. I thought I could check the next lap somehow before this, but couldn’t till pulling up to this light. Too much demanded my undivided attention.

But now my gut tells me I chose wrong and the directions printout on the car seat agrees.

So I make my way through the busy business area, searching for a good turn-around spot—hopefully one where I can just stop a while and simply sit and breathe.

Besides, that dashboard warning going, “Bing! Bing! Bing!” back there in the crowded six-lane traffic needs investigation. And the car itself seems ready to pass out, after chug-chug-chugging away so sluggishly, as if 65 mph was pushing it way past its limits.

Spotting a motel complex to the left, I sigh relief. I turn, pull in, put the car in park, turn off the motor—and deep-sigh yet again. And I decide, right then and there, to give myself a full ten minutes. I drop my hands from the steering wheel, lean back in my seat… and breathe.

Those exhales are important, I’ve come to learn. The Asthma Association taught me that. Trouble from asthma comes from not being able to get rid of what’s inside to make room for fresh oxygen to come in. So they advise you to do a breathing exercise while walking: Inhale to the count of four, exhale to the count of six, steadily blowing out what’s inside through lips pursed as if to whistle.

The relax-and-live-better coaches advise something similar. Inhale naturally, then exhale long and slow, as long as you can. Release the burden and relax the taut chords.

Later at the retreat I’m also asked, “What do you need to let go of to be fully present this weekend?” and am advised to let go of that as I exhale, then inhale what I need from God. And a handout sheet quotes John 20:23, “Then he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”

Even the car, it turns out, had a similar problem (besides what the dashboard warning was binging about). Closer investigation under the hood (later) revealed leaves from last autumn surrounding the air filter, making the engine, as Husband described it, “Starved for oxygen.”

Is it just a coincidence that I read Psalm 55:23 this morning?

Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you” (verse 23).

I don’t think so.

What burden is under your hood that you need to “exhale,” get out of the way, and cast (roll) onto the LORD, so you can better breathe in the things of His Spirit? When can you take ten minutes to “breathe” and release it? How about now?

12 thoughts on “When Cars—and People—Can’t Breathe

    1. “What happened to my reply to this comment?” I wonder, Gabriele! I wrote one this morning to let you know I was praying right then, for God to take that burden from you as you released it to Him, and to fill you instead with His Spirit. Well, I did pray that then, and will pray it again, and I’m letting you know it now, better late than never! God bless!

  1. Great reflections- it is easy to hold on to fear and anxiety and forget to breathe out. Driving somewhere busy and unfamiliar does that to me too. It is so important to remember to hand our worries over to God and to breathe in the Holy Spirit.

    1. Me too, Mary. And then I also find myself doing things I “couldn’t” do!
      A blessed weekend to you!

  2. What a great story and example of what we need to do in life in trusting Him and breathing deep of His grace and love.
    Thanks for the encouraging words!
    Happy Weekend to ya!

    1. And thanks right back at you, Rachel, for your encouraging words. I think maybe God gives us stories like this much more often than we see. Even when He walked the earth as human, Jesus taught a lot in parables, didn’t He? Trying to pay closer attention…
      And great weekend to you, too!

  3. Love the part where you decided to give yourself “a full ten minutes” I was fascinated with the part about asthma not getting the old air out–such a word picture! This week I read something along the lines of “Don’t quit–rest!” Rest and breathing go together–and why do we need permission?

    1. Laurie,
      “Don’t quit–rest!” What wisdom is in that! That saying smacks me with the reality that if we rest when we should, we’re less likely to quit, aren’t we? And good question: Indeed, why to we (think we) need permission–when He even told us to rest, lots of places! Happy Sabbath rest tomorrow!

  4. Love this post, Sylvie, and all the lessons you learned and are sharing with us from your sojourn. Breath is the stuff of life, and therefore, we breathe. And yes, there’s lots that can inhibit our breathing. As a pro singer, I know only too well that to sustain tone, I can’t just breathe, but deeply, and then on top of that, I must sustain the breath with diaphragmatic support. That helps in life, too, but in the spiritual life, no. Like you said (like Scripture says), I need to cast my cares upon Him, and I need Him alone to sustain my breath. In fact, He gave me breath in the first place, and one day He’ll take it away. My very life is in His hands. So was yours on that highway, and I remind myself of this as I head to Iona in March….sometimes breathless with fear. God promises to sustain my breathing till He takes me home.

    Thank you so much for such rich sharing.

    1. And thank you, Lynni, for your rich encouragement. You and your upcoming trip are ofen in my prayers.

      Also, I think there is a valid parable in the breathing you must do as a singer. We should breathe in the things of Christ not just so-so, absent-mndedly, but deeply, as you say, using not just our lungs but our gut and our strength (body and soul) to obtain, and then sustain, the benefit of “the breath of life.” Like oxygen. But the “CO2 type stuff” has to go, not just once, but over and over again. There is a rhythm that needs maintaining. And we always, always, need to keep seeking His Spirit.

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