In this episode of Real Talk with Rachael I’m talking with Jennifer Tucker. Jennifer is an illustrator, graphic designer, and author of Breath as Prayer: Calm Your Anxiety, Focus Your Mind, and Renew Your Soul. She creates graphics and art for Ann Voskamp and works for various clients including DaySpring, HarperCollins, and Ink & Willow. Her personal art and work reflect her journey towards health and healing, and she creates art to remind her own soul that God is with us, that we are loved and held and never alone. She lives in central Georgia with her husband, Mark, and daughters Emma and Lilly. Jennifer is a devoted follower of Jesus and an advocate for mental health.
Key Points from Our Conversation:
- Breath prayer has been around for centuries. It combines deep breathing (which calms our nervous system) and marries it with prayer (which connects our hearts to God).
- If you were raised in a Christian household, you may feel shame around anxiety stemming from not being able to “cast all our cares on Him.” Things changed for Jennifer when she recognized that there are physical symptoms of anxiety that show up in the body due to God’s design of the nervous system. There is no shame in that.
- God loves us and is always compassionate. Reading the scriptures through the eyes of a loving mother concerned for her daughter struggling with anxiety made it clear that the scriptures about anxiety were not a condemnation of her, but rather an invitation to rest in the peace and love of Christ. She began reading the Bible from a perspective of compassion rather than condemnation.
- Breath is the source of our life. Scripture says God breathed life into us; now it’s a gift that we can control to calm our minds to focus on Truth.
- Breath prayers are not only for states of anxiousness, but a routine to develop in our daily lives. In life, we tend to get busy and forget to slow down and focus on the truth of God’s Word.
- Breath prayers are not a way to look inward to solve our problems, but rather upward to our Heavenly Father as our source of wisdom and guidance. It is also not a way to empty our mind of all thoughts, but rather to repeat the truth of the scripture to root in our hearts.
Let’s Get Real Practical:
Practice breath prayer this week. If you are suffering, you do not suffer alone. Jesus is close when you are crushed.
Make this your breath prayer this week: (Inhale) You are close to the brokenhearted. (Exhale) You rescue crushed spirits.