July 2, 2020

“The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” – Job 33:4

I recently saw an article titled, “The Dependability of Change.”   My mind kept coming back to those four words and my uncomfortable reaction to them.  I have never thought of change as something I could count on like my favorite sweater in the winter. But the more I mulled over this phrase, I have come to decide change is, indeed, dependable.

Since first hearing the words Coronavirus and Covid-19, I have experienced every emotion known.  Sometimes, I feel sad and fearful and yet other moments, hopeful and inspired when seeing the heroes in action.  Some days, I feel extraordinarily tired and weary, yet other days, peppy and energetic.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, the one thing I can depend on is change.  If we resist change to the point of being tense and anxious, a state of chronic stress is a likely possibility.

Chronic stress keeps our bodies in a constant state of fight or flight mode, which leads to a multitude of health challenges including depression, digestive problems, heart disease, weight gain, sleep issues and more.  Long-term exposure to stress hormones such as cortisol, which are produced when the body is experiencing stress, has the ability to compromise our immune systems.

While we cannot control life’s stressful situations or stop change from happening, we can manage our reaction.  Deep breathing is a dependable way to move out of the fight or flight mode and into the healing mode of rest/relax, which engages our parasympathetic nervous system.  The Mayo Clinic reports deep breathing can decrease the effect of stress on your mind and body. It also can slow your heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.

Practicing deep breathing to support your health is not difficult.  I encourage you to experience it now by moving your attention to your breath.  Without changing how you are breathing, simply notice the state of your breath – deep, shallow, quick, long, whatever it is, just be with it for a moment.  Now, begin with one deep inhale and one complete exhale.  It is that simple. The challenge is to bring our chaotic mind back to our breath when stressful moments arise.

I’m not certain I will ever delight in the thought of depending on change, but I am certain of God’s faithfulness.  In the moments when change feels overwhelming, I pray you will take a moment to slow down and breathe deeply knowing God is along for the ride.

– Tisha Tate Garcia