Just Breathe

     Watching a sanctuary full of women dance to theme music from “The War Room” was a highlight of this month’s Aspire conference at Vineyard.  Our speaker inspired women to dance in defeat of fear, letting go of those obstacles holding us back.  The speaker’s message resonated, as she discussed battling a crippling autoimmune disease and how it taught her a valuable lesson in learning to operate not in fear, but in love. 

       Some of us fight, or use aggression, when we’re actually afraid, or avoidance, to deny and run, or even giving in and giving up, which is withdrawal.  None of these options is healthy, or effective. 

      How do you handle the toll of fear or stress on your body and mind?  Aggression?  Avoidance? Or withdrawing?  I can say check, check, check, to one or all of the above, at times. 

      We know that science has confirmed the connection between our physical and mental health, and stress is a known component to that—bombarding the body with side effects such as insomnia, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, even cancer and other chronic diseases.  

      How can we operate more in love, than fear?  I don’t have all the answers.  Love can mean being compassionate and less critical toward ourselves.  “Research into self-compassion over the last decade has shown its benefits for well-being.  Individuals who are more self-compassionate tend to have greater happiness, life satisfaction and motivation, better relationships and physical health, and less anxiety and depression,” according to Mindful magazine, February 2019. 

      Love can also be demonstrating more compassion towards others, through our actions.  Mindful people …”tended to be more compassionate and helpful.  Being nonjudgmental, empathetic, having a positive outlook on life, and knowing how to regulate emotions also increased behavior that benefited others” according to Mindful magazine.  Amazing how modern science confirms what the Bible told us centuries ago, simply “Love one Another.” 

      We know the things we can do to reduce stress:   eating right, exercising, sleep.  I often struggle with my sleep, a side effect of medication.  I’m trying to incorporate more meditation and deep breathing into my life.  Not as a woo-woo pop psychology trendy fix, but as a scientifically based principle.  It’s been demonstrated  that  it creates relaxation, lowers blood pressure, reduces cortisol levels and inflammation in the body, and helps the lymphatic system as well.  Often I’ll combine walking with a deep breathing practice, so I get the benefits of being outdoors in a bit of nature.  As a Christian, though, I do use that opportunity to reflect on God’s promises—praying or meditating on words such as peace, or healing, or hope.  I do believe that I’m feeling a bit less stressed these days….and that’s saying a lot!  

      When fear overwhelms us, and we find ourselves operating in aggression, avoidance, or giving in, we need to practice operating in love.  Nike has the slogan, JUST DO IT.  It may sound simple, but it may be as simple as JUST BREATHE in God’s promises and let go of fear.  

One thought on “Just Breathe”

  1. This is timely for me. Been doing bible study about making the effort to enter into God’s rest. Hebrews 4:11-12

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