Breathe Deep

Breathe Deep

Breathe Deep 150 150 JJ Landis

Scratchy throat. Headache. Cough. The strain of each cough intensified my sore head. I wanted to stay in bed all day.

It was a rainy, cool morning that followed a relentless week. An overall blah day.

After being cooped up at work yesterday, not feeling well, I was able to come home early to sleep. When the kids got home from school, I walked from the bed to the couch and spent most of the evening there. At bedtime, I downed a quart of Nyquil (or I guess it was 2 tablespoons) and crashed until morning.

When I woke up today with the lingering ick, I lazed and lounged not knowing what to do with myself. Not tired enough to sleep. Not sick enough to not care. Not well enough to care.

I had promised the kids donuts from a local market so I got myself dressed and left the house.

As we emerged from the parking garage, I inhaled deeply and commented on the fresh air. My husband raised his bushy eyebrow and looked at me like I was crazy – parking garages and congested city streets aren’t known for providing fresh air.

But from my perspective of being home in bed breathing recycled sick air, the blast of air, despite being mostly fumes, smelled good to me.

I can get spiritually sluggish. Sometimes I am not in good health deep inside, deeper than my physical sickness. When I don’t pray. When I’m in a rut. When the Bible remains untouched.

And in those times when I am so lacking and empty, I can inhale the smallest morsel of life, though hidden within exhaust and pollution, and eek by.

Later in the day, my youngest, my oldest (exchange student), and I decided to go on a walk/run/hike.

We drove to an expansive park nearby and immediately saw more than 20 deer. I stopped the van and we watched with awe. Then we found a hiking path.

I realized about halfway into our fun that my headache was substantially better. Fresh, rainy, spring, cool air filled me with each breath. My body grew stronger as I sucked in the sweetness.

Our hike was a lot of uphill, mud, rain. Nonetheless, moving my body was what I needed more than sloth-like resting all day. I felt good and wholesome and real.

That short outing lifted me from a ditch. I still have a cold and the headache is lurking under the surface, but I have a sense of health that I haven’t had in a few days.

When I am in a spiritual rut, I want to avoid those gasping breaths where my body has to filter out the bad from the good. I want to breathe deep; I want His uncut brilliance to overcome me. Instead of grabbing what bits and pieces I can find in the pollution and limping along feeling just okay, I want all of God. I want to devour His Word and let His presence delight me and fill me and carry me through.

I want to breathe deep and have God’s uncut brilliance give me health.

Will you soak up God’s health? Are you feeling well and whole or do you need some fresh air? Will you please ask God to heal your body and spirit?

JJ Landis

JJ Landis is the author of "Some Things You Keep." She is a librarian in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and three children. She blogs about parenting, marriage, and getting through the day at

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