I’ve been talking in worship a lot lately about slowing down in the midst of a very busy time. I’ve also admitted that in many ways I’m not the right person to tell people to slow down because I’m always on the move, always going 1,000 MPH and honestly, don’t always know how to slow down myself.
It doesn’t mean I don’t know it’s important. It’s vital to a life of faith. If we are always on the run and always in motion, we are likely to miss seeing God and noticing what God is doing in our lives and in our world.
I know it’s important to slow down. Yet I still struggle to do it.
I have found one thing that has been helpful to me. It’s called Tactical Breathing. It’s a technique used by the military, first responders and law enforcement in order to slow down in the midst of tense situations. It has the effect of actually calming one down and I’ve found it vital in my process of slowing down and taking notice of the world around me.
It’s a simple process:
You breathe in while counting to 5.
You hold your breath while counting to 5.
You exhale while counting to 5.
You hold for a count of 5.
And you repeat.
You’re encouraged to do this 3-4 times to relax, tune in, calm down and lessen anxiety and stress.
It works for me. I find that it’s the beginning process for me to slow down. Usually I’m rushing because I’m stressed about all I have to do or where I have to be. Tactical Breathing stops me momentarily.
It should be no surprise that breathing can be the gateway to reconnecting with God in the midst of a busy life. After all, God is the one that put breath in us to begin with. God fills us with his spirit, which in Hebrew is the same word for breath. As we breathe in and out we can acknowledge that God is there and in a sense we can actually feel God. If breath is spirit and spirit is God, then as we breathe we welcome God into ourselves once again.
We breathe all of the time. It’s not like God isn’t there, but Tactical Breathing reminds us that God is there. That’s all we need to begin to slow down and focus more on God.
Give it a try.