Life for the past month straight, no joke.  In the case of our nostrils, they are a much needed working part in order for oxygen to get where it needs to be.  No oxygen…definitely time for some changes right? For me, no amount of breathe right band aids work after a certain point of time and it is painfully obvious when walking around like a hot mess zombie, red nostrils screaming for liberation. Hence the beach picture because it is the best and my nostrils are very happy there.  There is something about the beach, the ocean. Calming, big enough and vast enough for everyone. I can breathe.

Congested…clogged, stuffed, blocked with or too full of something. So crowded with traffic or people as to hinder freedom or movement. Blocked as to hinder breathing.

Those blocked nostrils…This is what oppression feels like.  It is fleeting moments of oxygen between the overwhelming reality of constantly trying to come up for air in the midst of trouble.  What makes us feel unable to breathe?  The world around us, sickness, circumstances, troubles pressing down on us?  Undoubtedly the world says to be like everyone else.  I see it all the time at school.  But when we get a taste of real oxygen this literally is like a lack thereof, it hinders freedom and movement. The more we break free, the more we can breathe. People don’t like real oxygen though, full breathing creates fear.

My childhood was not an easy experience.  That being said it certainly reinforced the reality that being like everyone else is that much more important.  Regardless, children quickly conclude the only safe way to breathe is to follow the world around them.  But that isn’t breathing fully, that is congested oxygen. The ones that do break free face incredible judgement. Different kind of oxygen creates fear.  But here is truth.  Not everyone believes the same way we believe, not everyone looks the same way we look, not everyone feels the same way we feel.  Sadly, we might not even realize the uniqueness within ourselves without freedom to feel it, see it, believe it, breathe it.  It doesn’t matter whether we agree or disagree with each others views.  People need to breathe, differences are real oxygen.  Blocking oxygen by messages we put out there, often times without realizing it, is not effective.

When my children have conversations with me we talk about congested oxygen because they need to know I love and accept them regardless of who they are and grow up to be and how we can be this for others. People who love them in their life might not always agree but that will not hinder me from teaching them about acceptance. Regardless of whether or not we agree with someone, any message of judgement is oppression.  Did God really say we are right?  Or do we pick and choose what fits our oxygen?  When we encounter someone who feels oppressed remember how it feels when we can’t breathe.

The other day we were listening to the radio and my youngest asked the question of whether the song playing was about a boy or a girl.  You see, my son can hear the person singing sounds like a boy but the song itself isn’t very clear on whether he is singing about a boy or a girl. My other son answered, of course it is about a girl.  That is when I stop them and say, actually we don’t know if he is singing about a boy or a girl. It could be either and we can’t answer that question because it is up to the person singing to decide.  The message they hear most greatly is congestion and I do not want them to be defined by only one kind of oxygen.  I do not want them living life as though they can not breathe. And if they read my blog, another reminder.

Jesus does not define us by congestion.  The greatest examples of his teachings were refuting congestion.  So whether or not we agree with my example above, we can agree that Jesus loves all people and that is how he asks us to love.  He gravitated to people who were hurting from labels, hurting from oppression, hurting from judgement and used these kinds of examples to teach us about love. He himself was oppressed.  We don’t have to share Christian religion to study the life of Christ, the compassion for all he spoke and taught can be appreciated in and of itself. The more we understand this about Jesus, the more we understand how to fully breathe.

I read this passage today which is perfect.

Isaiah 53:7-8 ~ Jesus was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.  He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.  And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they led him away to his death.  But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins, that he was suffering their punishment?  

The next time we side with congested oxygen we need to ask ourselves if it is helping or hindering breath?  His executors did not realize what they were doing, they were blocked or too full of their own truths to see the real oxygen right in front of them.  They definitely thought they were right.  Maybe, just maybe, it also means we can be wrong too.

Luke 23:34 ~ And Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Real oxygen is incredible.

Loved By Grace,