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?