Take a deep breath

Image Source: Havilah Galaxy

I have a habit of holding my breath whenever I am nervous or stressed. When I realize and take a deep breath, I can physically feel my body relax and my thoughts clear.

The last few weeks have been some of the most stressful that I have experienced in a while. I have had assignment submissions, exams to prepare for and car trouble upon car trouble.

Walking out of my exam this morning, I felt like I could relax for the first time in a while. I took a couple of deep breaths and could immediately feel my whole body relaxing.

It is amazing how breathing has such a calming effect on our bodies during stressful times. Professional sportsmen learn proper breathing techniques in order to perform under pressure and pregnant women are encouraged to breathe during labour.

I love the way that Rob Bell addresses it in his NOOMA video titled Breathe. He explains that the Hebrew name for God is essentially 4 words that make up the vowel sounds of the Hebrew language: Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh.

We have come to know this word as Yahweh today, but the ancient rabbi's would not pronounce this name, partly because they believed it to be sacred, but also because ultimately the name is unpronounceable as the letters together are essentially just the sound of breathing.

Bell argues that as we breath and speak in everyday life, even if we are unaware of it, we are literally saying the name of God.

In the Bible, the word for ‘breath’ is the same word as the word for ‘spirit.’ In Genesis 2:7, when the author says that "God formed man and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," it reminds us that God has breathed God's Spirit into us and it is by God's Spirit that we live and move and have our being.

Whenever I am stressed and have to take deep breaths, I am not only calming myself down, I am being reminded of the Holy Spirit of God that is all around us and living inside of me. The Spirit that comforts, nurtures and strengthens me to face another day.

"For the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being is in God's hand."
- Job 12:10 (NLT)


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