Originally published Monday, 16 September 2019.
There is little that comes more naturally in life or is taken for granted more than breathing. It is something that I don’t thank God for enough or even contemplate the nuances of. I took a walk earlier and as I was walking and asking the Lord what he had to say through me about breathing, He was once again faithful to put many thoughts in my head. I stopped by a coffee shop to jot down notes before they left the quiet places of my mind, and I was overcome with gratitude for all the ways God has used this seemingly simple yet complex word physically and spiritually in my life.
Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” God literally gave us breath. It’s because of the life that He gives that we breathe without even thinking about it. He created our complex bodies to be able to breathe the air around us.
My newest niece was born. The miracle of birth has always been something that fascinates me. As I sat in the hospital holding this tiny girl, I couldn’t believe that I could finally look at the face that I had wondered what would look like for so many months. Even more than her precious face, I was fascinated that this tiny human body has all the same complexities as the one that I’ve been living in for 30-some-odd years. Her tiny little breaths were breathing the same air as I was, and only hours old, her body knew instinctively how to breathe outside of the womb. Her Creator had designed her so intricately, beautifully, and profoundly.
After that day, it would be a couple of weeks before I got to cuddle that sweet girl again. About a day later, I thought my allergies had flared up but it turned into a nasty chest cold. I’ll spare you all the details, but between that, and the true allergies that living in the Pacific Northwest bring this time of year, I quickly realized how much I take being able to breathe (and sleep) normally for granted. I encounter people quite often who need assistance breathing, and I know that my illness was nothing close to what they encounter.There were definitely times when my coughing attacks worried me and those around me. What a relief that first breath was after the coughing stopped.
Just as physically breathing comes easily and is often taken for granted, the Lord has been faithful to point out some spiritual “breaths” in my life. These are things that I almost do without noticing, or that He does in and through me that I take for granted on a daily basis.
There is a song that I haven’t thought of in at least a decade that has been going through my mind a lot lately. “Breathe” was originally written by Marie Barnett in 1995, and has been recorded by many Christian artists over the years. It’s hard to remember when I first heard it, but it was definitely a staple in my youth group days. The lyric that keeps repeating itself in my mind goes, “This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence, living in me.”
As a follower of Christ, I am truly blessed to have the Holy Spirit living in me, directing me, and comforting me in many ways. Breathing in His presence, His guidance is something that I do more often than I realize sometimes, and it’s something that others notice about me. One day recently at work, a regular customer asked me to keep him in my prayers. I have never mentioned my faith to him, but he said that he knew I was a believer from previous interactions we had. That, my friends, is His presence in me, flowing out of me like the air that I breathe.
You better believe I said a quick, silent prayer for that man, and just as God’s presence is like a breath of fresh air, our prayers can be too. I’ve said before, both in writing and in person, that prayer is hard for me. It’s an area that the enemy uses to get me down. I often think my prayers aren’t big enough, grand enough, or even scheduled enough. I regularly find myself praying, “Lord, teach me to pray, to desire to spend time in prayer.” While these are not bad things to ask for and desire, God has been generously pointing out the small prayers that I am continually praying.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Because of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life, I find that this happens more naturally than the enemy would like me to believe. There are definitely times that we need to sit in His presence and spend extended time in prayer with the Father, but praying can also be like breathing. The seemingly small, in-the-moment, shorthand prayers, are effective too.
Breathing, both physically and spiritually are things that we often taken for granted. Exercises can be done for both to improve the efficiency, but I can’t help but think there’s a reason God created us to breathe. Without this reminder of these gifts that come so naturally we often take them for granted, we’d miss seeing the blessings God places in every moment.
Where do you see God breathing life into you today?
What is He providing for or doing in your life that you often don’t realize or take for granted?
Inhale, exhale, open your eyes, and look for the God who gives you each breath.
Karly Grant is a 30-something, single, enneargram 9, follower of Jesus who likes to keep life entertaining and real. The circumstances of the last few years of her life have held many twists and turns, but she can’t wait to see where God leads. She has a heart for adoption and is waiting to see where the Lord guides her on this path. She can often be found in a coffee shop, curled up with a good book, or spending quality time laughing and having fun with her family and friends.