For years I thought I was a wimp. I'd run and start gasping long before my legs fatigued. I'd struggle to expand my diaphragm when I sang. I'd spread out on the floor and will my lungs to open up like everyone else's seemed to.
It wasn't until a year or so ago when I visited a knowledgeable clinical massage therapist that I discovered something. There was something wrong with me; it just wasn't in my head.
Because of my scoliosis, my muscles would often pull to compensate for the weak ligaments and curved spine. The therapist told me that the intercostal muscles (like rubber bands between your ribs) wouldn't expand properly without adjustments to my neck and diaphragm. They seemed to work more like concrete than elastic.
On days when I tweak my back or neglect my back exercises, deep breathing is a luxury. I've never had asthma, but I know what it is to gasp for breath. I've even gone through extended periods where the only deep breathing I muster was through a yawn. Thanks to this incredible massage therapist and her Bowen technique, I've learned some techniques and acquired some tools to help me combat this condition. I'm not completely helpless. But I've certainly felt that way.
Last night I had one of the worst migraines I've had for awhile--the-light-hurts-and-I'm-going-to-puke kind of headache. It robbed me of my ability to do pretty much anything but go to bed. My husband offered me medicine and got the bed ready for me to rest. He prayed over me, asking for rest and relief. But his prayer reminded us both of our frailty and desperate need for him. He even thanked God for the weak moments that remind us of that fact--we are dependent on him for every breath, for every moment of health and safety.
It's so easy to fall into this false belief that I have something to do with my sustaining life. But the reality is, I can't even control my heart's beats or my lungs' ability to inhale/exhale deeply. What makes me think I can control much of anything? This realization may cause hopelessness or despair, but truly it brings me to a place of relief. I may not have the power I think I do, but God does. I may not be able to hold back the tide or calm the storm, but I rest in One who can. I may not be strong, but He always is.
"Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life." Psalm 54:4
"Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:" Isaiah 42:5