When Panic Steals Our Breath, He Gives Us His

breath of life

Have you ever been hit in the gut hard enough to have the wind knocked out of you?  I remember the first time it happened to me, I was playing on a swing set.  The details are cloudy however I remember jumping off the swing and landing on my knees.  The jarring motion caused the wind to escape my lungs … my sister knelt beside me asking if I was okay?  I couldn’t speak, only make scared facial expressions.  I thought I was dying and there was nothing I could do about it.  After a few breathless moments, a gasp of air was allowed to enter my lungs … I remember feeling like I escaped death!


Getting the wind knocked out of you is a kind of diaphragm spasm that occurs when sudden force is applied to the abdomen.  It puts pressure on the solar plexus (the center spot above your ribs), which results in temporary paralysis of the diaphragm.  For a short period of time you cannot breathe in or out.


Your breath is paralyzed and you cannot breath nor speak.


I think I experienced my first panic attack.  Part of me feels ashamed to admit that … admit that fear punched me hard in the gut and I buckled from the blow.  Admit that I was overcome by the one who came to steal … steal my hope, faith and focus.  A spiritual kill strike to the solar plexus and I buckled over from the fearful blow. The enemy stole my breath … he took my hope, my promise and my joy, and left me paralyzed.


“I’m so scared.” Was all I could whisper.  My husband reached over and put his hand on mine, “What are you scared of?” he spoke reassuringly but I knew the same thoughts were racing through his mind.  I couldn’t respond to his question.  I tried.  My lungs locked.  I opened my mouth and nothing came out.  I couldn’t breathe.  My attempts of forming words stumbled and fell to their knees like a little girl landing hard from a swing … I gasped for air and couldn’t force oxygen in or out … tears fought for release while my words were held captive in panics grips.


Fear punches and panic paralyzes.


Fear punches in ways that’s personal.  Fear has no problem hitting below the belt or anywhere else you are guarded.  In fact, I think fear knows our most delicate area’s and aims purposefully for a kill strike.  Those areas we hold our faith the tightest and the place where we love the strongest, those are places where fear punches and panic paralyzes.


If fear can cause us to buckle over and take our eyes off Father, panic will seize opportunity to paralyze our breath and our hope.


The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4


For the one who feels they’re fighting for breath, paralyzed with panic … I’m kneeling beside you.  You’re going to breathe again.  Father will fill your lungs full, I promise.  You need to refocus, listen …


»Practice the pause.

Ann Voskamp wrote in her book, One Thousand Gifts, “Life is not an emergency.” … that has to be somewhere in the bible because those 5 words have calmed me when panic threatens to steal my peace.  Whatever situation you’re walking through, it will not be fixed with a panicked response.  Take time to pause, not panic. 


»Sort your emotions.

For me, trust is part of a loving foundation and I have often times instructed my daughters to never lie, especially to me.  I’m not sure if that was good parenting however, for me, a lying tongue is hard to forgive.  When a lie is given life, my emotions run a-muck.  I get angry and I feel deeply hurt.  Everyone has an emotional switch that, once flipped, inhibits them from thinking clearly. Whatever the switch is for you, when it’s flipped, it’s hard to see through anger, pain and brokenness.  We need to sort the truth of a situation apart from the truth of our emotions.  The truth is, I am angry when I’m lied to however I cannot allow that anger to over-ride the ability to forgive and make wise decisions. 


»Pray until your breath mingles with His.

In the midst of being knocked out, I couldn’t find my voice.  I would pray and my words felt flat … they felt like a beggar pleading rather than someone speaking with authority.  I flipped through my bible scouring for words … all of them felt life-less.  “Ask me to lead.” Father reminded me.  Taking my eyes off the feelings of betrayal; I knew I had to “strengthen myself in the Lord” (David did too) and focus on Father’s leadership. I started simply and trusted wholly with these 5 words, “Father, give me your words.”  … Every scripture that came to mind I read, inserted names and began to breathe life again …


It was no longer my words fighting for life, rather Fathers breath breathing through my words.  Where the enemy took my breath, my voice and my joy … I’m fighting back by giving my breath to Father.  We choose to allow Him to breathe through us and our words. 


Friend, if you’ve been sucker punched by fear and panic has griped your throat … ask Father for His breath.  Ask Father to breathe words into your mouth; breathe words into your heart and fill your lungs full.  Give Jesus your panic, your emotions, your fears … in exchange for His breath of life and His words of power.  Where you’ve buckled from the “below the belt” punch, rise to fight with the authority of Father’s breath and His words.




November 8, 2017