As I walked back to my house one early morning this week, through the brisk cool air and heard these words it was like magic to my soul. I was listening to a podcast that had a guest that was sharing a harrowing experience about her life (All in: Brooke Snow). And when she said these words “Christ is the breath of life”, it stopped me in my tracks. You might say it took my breath away for a minute. I let it sink in and wash over me. As I listened to her experience, thoughts of my struggle with mental illness raced through my mind. Time after time when Christ had become the breath in whom I trusted to help me make it through another day.
This pandemic has been a hard punch in the gut for a lot of people. It has literally taken the breath away from most of us in all different ways. It has caused us to reflect and remember the things that should take priority in our lives. And it has been HARD. In so many ways it has been hard. So where do we go from here? How do we move forward when at times it feels so paralyzing?
All of the plans that we had for this year have been irrevocably changed and we can never go back and change what we’ve missed. Weddings, funerals, graduations, trips, and events. Some people said that 2020 was the year of perfect vision. The year when all our dreams could come true. And then boom…. in an instant our world was turned upside down.
But one thing I have learned through all of my struggles with depressions, anxiety and bipolar is that Christ is truly where it all has to start. We are all capable of change. After all, even though it’s been rough, we are making it through this change, somehow. Even though the path may not be clear at this moment.
Miracles can happen when we are willing to put our trust in Christ. Let Him breathe life into our weary souls. Because He sees the big picture. He sees what we can not. And like a baby being born and taking that first breath of air, we must look to the Lord to learn how to breathe when breathing seems impossible or almost like we are suffocating.
About partway through this quarantine, I realized that I needed to increase my yoga (meditation process) to stay grounded. Otherwise I think I would lose my mind and end up moving backward instead of forward with my illness. Normally, I do it once a week. It’s a good way to stretch and let go. Release the worries of the previous week and look ahead to the new week. But now I have been practicing it daily and it has made such a difference in my life and my days. I am a beginner and have a long way to go. I’m learning to understand how yoga/meditation work.
Important note: I am not saying that you should pick up yoga. But finding time to quiet my mind helps me to take things that are bothering me or frustrating me, and just let them melt away for a little while. It has helped me gain a new perspective on me as a person. I have found that I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for.
So what I am proposing as you move forward as the quarantine is lifted, and slowly move back into a daily routine, work, school, sports, etc., remember the ways that you have changed through this experience. Remember the experiences that have shaped you into a “new” person. Because certainly none of us can come out of this experience saying that we have not been changed in some way.
Find time as often as possible to sit for 5 minutes a day and just breathe. Let Christ be the breath of life for you. Just breathe in and out, deep breaths and let the worries of the world melt away. Clear your mind and take just 5-10 minutes to remember this experience and how strong you have become as a person.
You are resilient, you are strong, you are in charge of your own mind and your own life. Of course, there have been many negative things that have happened because of this experience. We may tend to look at it as one big negative. But I strongly encourage you to take the time to recognize the good that can come out it.
One thing that we can always be certain of, is that there will always be change.
President Russell M. Nelson taught: “We can change our behavior. Our very desires can change. … but true change–permanent–change can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” Let Christ Change you. Let him help you breathe. Let Him help you move forward and embrace what is going to be a new normal for all of us. Christ is the breath of life.
In Ezekiel 36 verse 26-27 we read: A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stoney heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
My hope is that as you move into this next phase of your life that your heart will stay soft and if it has been hardened through this trial, allow Christ to breathe new life into you. Allow him to heal your weary soul. You are His. He loves you and wants the best for you. Breathe in and breathe out and let Christ be the sail on your boat slowly pushing you forward.
Where do we go from here? In my mind the only answer is fearlessly forward!