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To make the varsity basketball team I had to run a mile in under 6 minutes.  It was 4 times around the track on a cold, windy day in October.  I am not a runner—I wasn’t back then either.  I was running so far and so fast it felt like I was breathing out of my ears—as well as my mouth.  Maybe you’ve been there—it is truly a weird feeling.  I was sucking wind that whole run.  And, as I crossed that finish line (at 5:46!) I couldn’t get oxygen in my lungs fast enough.  I was out of breath.  When was the last time you were out of breath—I mean really out of breath?

Not being able to suck in air is one thing.  This is a good feeling.  It comes with physical exertion and it is good for our health, our heart, and our soul.  The condition of asthma is different.  The condition of asthma isn’t the struggle of sucking air into the lungs.  Asthma is the inability of the body to exhale the bad air out.  An Asthmatic can’t get rid of the old air that doesn’t have oxygen in it anymore.  In other words, someone with asthma can suffocate in a room filled with oxygen.  Inhalers and medicine remedies this fatal condition—it helps the sufferer to exhale—to expel the used up, old, stingy breath.

Ask Yahoo! tells me that that 23 million adults suffer from asthma.  I’m not one of them—but I kind of am.  And I’m guessing you are too.  I don’t de-breath enough.  I don’t debrief in my everyday life.  Too often I forget to exhale my day—the good and the bad—and reflect upon God’s activity in me and around me.  There are lots of places I can caste my blame: I’m too busy; there is too much to do; I need to unwind and relax at the end of the day; I need to update my facebook status; my girl needs her diaper changed.  I’ve also failed to help others do the same.  As the shepherd in my context it is vital to lead the folks I serve in debriefing by asking questions following service projects, teaching times, even worship.  For it is only in exhaling that we are able to breath in the newness that the Holy Spirit offers.

Socrates once said that the “unexamined life is not worth living.”  This is true of our faith as well.  Examining our faith and debriefing our work for the Kingdom as well as God’s work in and through us, is vital to the flow of life through our veins.  Sadly, this ability and willingness to debrief is a lost art form.  But I believe it is high time we reclaim it.  Ask yourself today: Where did I see God at work?  Where did God use me today in His Kingdom?  For what do I need to be on the lookout as I encounter tomorrow?   What is God teaching me and how will that impact my tomorrow?  Ask yourself these questions and ask the people that you love them as well.  Have a conversation, exhale the good and the bad, and be prepared for God to show up in amazing ways as you inhale and exhale.


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