Soul 101:  Exhale


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.
Permission to:
  • Slow down.
  • Discover ways that replenish your soul.

Breathing is about the soul!

14 comments on “Soul 101:  Exhale

  1. This speaks to me on so many different levels because lately the Lord has been urging me to slow down and breathe. This means I have to limit my “yes”. Thank you for this and for sharing at Salt & Light Linkup!

  2. Love this encouragement, Deborah, to release — our breath and our struggles. I enjoyed Leeana’s book “Brazen” but hadn’t seen this one. Thank you for sharing! Sweet blessings to you!

  3. I am trying to begin my day by lying in bed and doing some deep breathing before I get up. It’s amazing how much I hold my breath!!

    • Wonderful idea, Aimee. Thank you so much for sharing. I recently discovered a breathing technique that helps me at night. Inhale on a steady count of four, hold it for seven, release through the mouth for a count of eight. Amazing how it helps. Thank you for stopping by today and remember to BREATHE!

  4. Hi Deborah, This is such a good reminder that I need to hear! Thank you!

  5. So so good…. I just ended a fairly brief yet high stress situation and when it was all over yesterday, I just sat down and let out a big exhale… It was perfect… I could release and God restored! Beautiful message!

  6. I recently purchases an Apple Watch. It will automatically interrupt my day and tell me to do breathing exercises. Most of the time I ignore it. This is a great reminder to slow down in life and take in its beauty. Maybe I’ll just do some of those breathing drills.

    • I think, just maybe, you should, Valerie. How cool that Apple has programmed these reminders into the watch. I have an Android and set the reminders myself because without them, the minutes go rolling by, and I forget to breathe!

  7. Breathing…something I need to do more. 🙂 Love your encouragement to find those people we trust to encourage us to slow down and savor the fact that the very breathe in our lungs is a gift.

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