How I found Jesus while breathing

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by c3lsius_bb
Flickr.com_29514102416_7965434bd8_CC BY-ND 2.0

The quiet attracted me instantly. Where else, besides a library, gives an introvert permission to be silent amidst a small crowd? Yet, as attractive as the silence was, I sat cross-legged, shaking in trepidation, upon my yoga mat, fearful that I was foolishly opening my heart to some Eastern religious practice and would somehow be sucked into paganism. I reminded myself repeatedly that this gentle yoga class was: 1) recommended by a therapeutic massage therapist, 2) was only for the purpose of learning safe stretching methods for my ever painful sedentary body, and that as a Christ-follower, (3) Jesus goes wherever I go.

After a few deep breaths and the soothing piano music playing from the instructor’s iPhone, my heart settled. While we concentrated on our breathing and were instructed in our stretches, I recognized God’s name with every breath: YHWH… YHWH… YHWH. Inhale, YH. Exhale, WH. The very name of Jesus. The very name that breathed life into us (Job 33:4); the very name that breathed the Holy Spirit into His disciples (John 20:22). The very name that brings healing and strength and courage. With every breath, His presence entered my space and fear left. Ann Voskamp says it this way:

“…fear is banished in the present moment when the presence of I AM fills it.” (One Thousand Gifts)

And He was there. Soothing. Healing. Being. Filling.

We always hunger to be filled up, don’t we? Whether it’s our bellies rumbling or our hearts yearning, we feel that nagging emptiness, that lack, that hole and we look to fill it with something. What we choose to fill that emptiness determines whether or not we’ll truly be satisfied. I wonder, every week after class, how long my classmates feel filled up? Can they truly be fully satisfied looking only inward to themselves or what they call the “Universe”? What happens when their fallible selves disappoint or the Universe doesn’t answer? Who then, or maybe, what then, do they turn to?

Satisfaction only comes when we look to the Living One who created this universe, the One who created us, the One who knows us by name, the One who placed His desires within our hearts…God. Only God can satisfy our hunger, our thirst and fill our empty bellies. So, He asks us:

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you… Isaiah 55:2, 3 NIV 

Likewise:  “…acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you…” 1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV

Only God offers to completely satisfy our hunger. Not food, or things, or success, or knowledge, or ourselves. Only God. Only when we seek God’s ways are we satisfied in every way.

So, how do we fill up on God? It looks different for everyone, but here’s a few suggestions:

  1. Spend time with God – just being, reading His story in Scripture, prayer
  2. Spend time with other Christ followers – in corporate worship and smaller groups where questions are welcomed
  3. Seek out God wherever you are, looking for signs of him in every situation
  4. Make every thing you do an act of worship (even a yoga class)

The great I AM, YHWH, loves us and longs to transform our ordinary into extraordinary. Won’t you seek Him in your ordinary, today?