Guest Post by: Mandy Marzano
A week ago, I stumbled into a building I never thought I’d enter, purchasing something I said I’d never buy. After the transaction, I slumped into my car, defeated, looking at the thing I now owned. It was…a CPAP machine. I felt the sting of my youth’s betrayal and the nudge to take a walk and eat carrots.
Until recently, I prided myself in the fact that I could breathe just fine. I mean, as far as I knew, I was somewhat of a professional breather. But then, when I couldn’t seem to make it through a day without a nap and looked at people who seemed perky and awake with disdain and confusion, I learned that I was not such a great breath taker after all.
I would stop breathing many times during the night when I was sleeping. It’s common, but I never thought I’d be THAT person who had to strap on a steampunk-looking contraption at night. I mean, I’m single now, but one day I may share that bed with some hunk, and contrary to popular belief, plastic parts shooting air up into your nostrils with long hoses strapped to your head are not as sexy as one would think.
So, I buckled into my newfound life and tried it. It took me almost 30 minutes to figure out the best position for the elephant trunk to fit my face without having air shoot into my eyeballs, but once I got it snug, I fell asleep, and when I woke up the following morning, I felt dare I say, better. I didn’t have that scratchy throat from apparent wall-shaking snoring I must do nightly, and I didn’t have that urge to jump back into bed and sleep for more hours as I had for the past couple of years.
It’s like I didn’t know I wasn’t breathing properly until I was.
How often do we go through our day without breathing in God’s Word? How long do we hold our breath or try to get air some other way, like gaping our proverbial mouths open, hoping that something will help us stay alive or get through it?
God never desired us to just “get through” life. Christ didn’t come to earth, radically change people’s lives, die a gruesome death, and raise from the dead so that we could “get by.”
John 10:10 tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Abundantly means in large quantities; plentiful. That sounds like through any situation, and I mean any, our loving, life-breathing Father will surround us, fill us, and walk in front of us through it all. That doesn’t sound like gasping for breaths to get through a situation.
Before my big breathing apparatus purchase, close friends urged me to get tested for sleep apnea. I had a doctor recommend a sleep study. My kid even took a very flattering video of me making my best foghorn impression while I slept. And I still waited. It still took me a year to finally give in. A year that I could have been feeling better, doing more, and taking care of myself. But I waited.
How many times have we heard the sermons and scriptures about God’s life-giving breath giving us freedom from sin, wisdom beyond our years, peace in unrest, joy in sadness, and a hope that withstands the very gates of hell? And yet…we wait. We hold our breath. We don’t want to seem weak or dependent on anyone. Or maybe we want to keep moving so fast in life because we’re scared to death of what will happen when we slow down.
I’d like to encourage you today to…breathe. Breathe in God’s goodness, love, truth, and peace. You’ve been holding your breath for far too long. It’s time to just breathe.