I came across this short, but beautifully powerful poem several years ago and have been drawn back to it over and over. It is SO rich with meaning that I want to share it with you.
“Breathe IN My Peace and Exhale Hurry
RUN to Me and Refuse Worry.
Luxuriate yourself in Me, as I DO LIVE and BREATHE in you!“ – anonymous
Physical breathing is something we do voluntarily but sometimes we don’t breathe as deeply as we should. I recently found out that I am a shallow breather. I would not have thought that the case, since I have always been a runner and very active. ..but, I don’t use my diaphragm properly, thus making me a shallow breather.
In looking up how to breathe more deeply I learned it HAS to be a new habit I form. Using my diaphragm, breathe in to the count of 4… breathe out to the count of 4. …there is no other way to teach myself to breathe differently than to practice doing it. So, now I have periods of time set aside each day when I practice breathing this way. I don’t know how long it might take to form this new habit because I cannot possibly do this exercise in counting 24/7. However, it is important enough to me to work at it until it does become much more habitual than my shallow breathing.
As with every breathing exercise there is always an exhale associated with the inhale. Inhaling brings in the oxygen we must have to live and exhaling removes the carbon dioxide that moves from our blood to our lungs with each inhale. This process, called gas exchange, is essential to life.
Each of us know that if we do not, or cannot, breathe we won’t live. Breathing is an involuntary function but breathing deep enough to gain all the health benefits deep breathing offers us isn’t natural to many of us.
The task of forming this new physical habit has reminded of how I should make spiritual deep breathing a habit also… which took me right back to the poem. It focuses us on the truth that spiritual deep breathing should be a fundamental part of our spiritual lives. Spiritually deep breathing takes time and effort. Yet, the beautiful benefits of that time and effort are rest, peace, joy and hope. We breathe in God and He refreshes and rejuvenates our souls.
The “gas exchange” that is so important to physical breathing also applies spiritual exhaling because as we exhale spiritually, we are allowing hurry to leave us.
As we spend the time and effort to read, pray and deep breathe spiritually we automatically are drawn closer to our sweet savior. We run to him and he fills us with peace. This process is the result of developing a healthy spiritual breathing habit.
The word “luxuriate” the poet chooses to use in the last line offers such a rich word picture. It brings thoughts of delight, comfort, pleasure, relaxation and care. God offers us these as we luxuriate ourselves in Him. Think of luxuriate in this way. It is spending time basking, meditating and pondering spiritual truth, deep breathing and enjoying the luxury this habit affords us.
“…Luxuriate yourself in Me, as I do live and breathe in you”.
In Genesis 2:7 the Bible says “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul“. The Hebrew word for God is Yahweh. Try to imagine what it sounded like when God exhaled His breath into Adam’s nostrils. I can hear His breath making the sound “Yahweh” as He powerfully exhaled out of Himself and into Adam. One sweet, soft gushing sound of breath leaving God and life began in man.
Will you join me and continue the habit (or begin to form this habit) of daily spiritual breathing? Breathe in Yahweh… breath out hurry and worry.
I believe each of us truly need to have this habit in the current world situations we find ourselves in. Read and re-read the poem – or better yet, memorize it! That is what I have tasked myself with this week.