Inhale. Exhale.

I don’t typically enjoy mediation. My mind wanders, weaving in and out of thoughts and imaginations. I question it’s effectiveness and my questions turn to anxiety, negating any positive affect meditation should have. Yet, in my bouts with anxiety and my brief time in counseling, I learned some simple breathing techniques.

Take a deep breath, hold it, and release…

As I step into the new year, a new season, a new depth in my relationship with my God, I am reminded of this simple breathing exercise. When my emotions begin their chaotic dance, spinning round and round until they send me spinning as well, I can catch my breath and refocus my thoughts.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH,

In fact, I find that God is taking me through a similar technique spiritually. When I’m faced with negative emotions: despair, anger, shame, or fear, I’ve learned to breathe them in. Feel them, experience them, acknowledge their presence.

Normally, I tend towards avoidance. I distract myself from the truth hoping that my lack of attention will make it go away. Out of sight, out of mind. But that doesn’t work. What is hidden in the shroud of darkness, will only cause me to stumble later on.

The way of the wicked is like [deep] darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.

Proverbs 4:19 AMP

When I acknowledge my emotions, I bring it out into the open. I allow God to shine his light in the darkness.

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

Ephesians 5:13 NIV

HOLD IT,

I’ve learned that it’s not enough to just acknowledge my feelings, but I have to pause and address where it came from. Why am I feeling ashamed? What about this situation scares me? What part of this makes me so angry?

Often, when I am faced with negative emotions, it is because my current circumstance harkens back to a moment in my past when I felt rejected, abused, or intimidated. Those wounds even when healed can be reopened, and we all know what happens to open wounds left unaddressed. Despite the age-old saying, time does not heal, God does.

RELEASE…

Once I’ve acknowledged my feelings and paused to examine where it came from, I can now let it go. I feel my past self interjecting, “It’s not that simple!” Letting go can be hard, mostly, because I’ve tried to let go out of my own strength. Yet, when I speak life, the word of God, I can let go out the strength of the Holy Spirit.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

John 6:63 ESV

So when fear, anger, or depression try to rise up within me, I remind them that no weapon formed against me will prosper.

“No weapon that is formed against you will succeed;
And every tongue that rises against you in judgment you will condemn.
This [peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And this is their vindication from Me,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 54:17 AMP

So whatever you are facing today, take a deep breath, hold it, and release…

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