I Forgot How to Breathe

Two weeks ago, when I was in Puerto Rico, I had an opportunity go spear fishing. Spear fishing is where you free dive with just a snorkel on and  your spear or spear gun in your hand. You have to be able to hold your breath long enough to scout the seabed, wait for a fish to come to you and release your spear.  I was so exhilarated and overjoyed  to try something for the first time.  

Before we could go out we had to do a bit of training. I thought majority of the time the training would be about how to scout, and how to use your spear well. But that wasn’t the case. We did go through all that but what we focused on was learning how to breath properly. I thought, “I already have this down . I do breathing exercises at home. Let’s talk more about the spear.”  In reality, I was more intimidated about using the spear. 

The foundation of diving is in your breathing. If you can’t breathe, you can’t dive and if you can’t dive, you can’t hunt.  So our guide led us into a 5-minute breathing exercise. 10 seconds in, hold, and 10 seconds out. That was the rhythm of breath we were to keep the whole time we were in the ocean. 

With my snorkel on top of my head, the flippers on my feet, and the spear in my hand, I jumped into the sea. But what was exciting quickly became panic once I stepped in to the ocean. 

I forgot how to breathe.

I’ve gotten so use to nose breathing, that it had become difficult to breathe through my mouth. I felt suffocated with the snorkel over my face.  By this time only a few minutes have past but it felt like I was out there for more than 30 minutes struggling to keep afloat as I try to quickly catch up with the rest of the crew. 

Exhausted, thoughts began to trickle in: 

  • I can’t do this
  • I don’t have what it takes
  • I won’t survive
  • If I can’t swim, how can I possibly dive
  • What did I get myself into

And then I remembered the training.
I stopped moving and I just focused on my breath. 
10 second in. Hold. 10 second out. 

I was able to get my composure and slowly catch up with everyone while somewhat keeping a rhythm of breath. The next step is to actually dive. This is where you have to be more intentional because every stroke and every kick uses your oxygen.  After a few tries, I was able to do it where I could actually hold my breath for more than 15 seconds. 

Remembering my Breath

A few days ago, I woke up feeling anxious thinking about all the things I need to do, the projects I need to complete, the classes I need to watch, and the people I need to see. Pressure was slowly building up and I could feel my heart start to race.

Fearful of failure, thoughts began to trickle in.

It was fascinating to catch my thought as they flashed through my mind and remembered my time in the ocean and how similar this moment was. I stopped thinking and I just focused on my breath.

When we were in the ocean, we had a guide that walked us through how to breathe and trained us how to navigate the rough waters of sea. In life, we have the Holy Spirit. He once spoke to my heart and said, “If you want to have a better relationship with Me, understand your relationship with your breath.” 

In John 20, after rising from the dead, Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit to the disciples. This was such a significant moment for them and for us who have become disciples of Jesus.

This Spirit that hovered over the deep waters in the beginning, the same Spirit that God breathe in Genesis, the same Spirit that brought life into the universe, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is now living inside of us. 

The Holy Spirit has become our breath and our indwelling guide. So I want to encourage you, when the pressure of life seems to be suffocating you, slow down, and remember your breath.

Remember the gift that’s been made available for you to commune with. They Holy Spirit is with you and you can Him trust to guide you and empower you to keep going. Because when you don’t give up, you win.


This video was a moment of celebration for me. I was able to hold my breath for more than 30 seconds. I didn’t catch a fish but I learned how to hunt. I learned how to be still, and I learned how to use my breath well. 

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