Earlier this year I read an insightful book by Leeana Tankersley. In Breathing Room: Letting Go So You Can Fully Live, I discovered some interesting facts about breathing.
The human body’s urge to breathe cannot be repressed.
The urge to breathe is also absolutely necessary.
When a person holds their breath, a pain is felt within the chest.
The pain that is felt just before taking the next breath is called the critical line. This is the signal that it is time for another breath.
The critical line is different for everyone. However, everyone – at some point – must breathe.
According to research, the critical line is hit not necessarily because the body needs oxygen, but because it needs to release CO2.
When the breath is held, the body tells us that it is time to EXHALE. Only then are we able to take in the air we so desperately need.
Our Common Reality
Each of us has a critical line. It is there, but many of us begrudge or even deny the line.
We are the fillers of roles – wife, mother, daughter, friend, neighbor, employee, church member, and on it goes.
And we fill those roles well. In fact, we often do such a good job that others see us fulfilling them well and ask us for more. Then, what do we do? We say, “YES,” even when we feel unable to put one foot in front of the other. Barely making it through each day, we begin to believe there is something wrong with us because we can’t “push past it” like everyone else seems to be doing.
Our refusal to EXHALE, to release, to let go, can drown us.
On our own, we are likely to continue saying, “Yes.” We are likely to drown.
We need people walking with us who honor our struggle, grace-filled words of encouragement, and space. What we need is permission to EXHALE because just as our physical body needs to breathe, our soul needs to breathe!
Remember the example of Jesus. One of the ways He replenished was through close friendships. Find a friend or two that you can trust with your struggle, ones that will offer you grace-filled words of encouragement and accountability. Ask them to offer you permission and learn to offer permission to yourself.
Discover ways that replenish your soul.