Yoga has been so good for this runner’s body. But as grateful as I am for the physical benefits, I am equally grateful for how God speaks to me through it. Sometimes, His words urge me to find compassion for myself. Sometimes, He helps me find an emotional release through a physical one. And sometimes, He uses it to illustrate the importance of something I have been trying to ignore. And when this happens, it feels like a cross between a lightbulb going off in my head and a sucker punch that sends me face down in repentance. Anyone been there?
The latter was the case on Tuesday. We were using straps to work into the “hand-to-toe” pose (here’s a picture if you want to see what it looks like). The ultimate expression of this pose is both legs straight,one firmly rooted into the ground, the other extended out, hand grasped around the foot. In my mind, for me to “accomplish” the pose (I don’t think they really allow that word in yoga), my extended leg needed to be straight. But my yoga teacher pointed out that when I straightened my extended leg, the other one bent. To paraphrase her wisdom, she said:
“The brain is smart. In our minds, we have an aesthetic image in our head – in order to achieve that image, we must unplug or misalign something to get it. The extended leg is what you think the world will see, or what the world would view as more important, but the foundational leg is actually more important. It is what keeps your rooted. It is what enables you to do more within the pose. I don’t care if the extended leg is straight or not, but I do care if your foundation is strong.”
For a moment, I think I actually hung my head down. Of course, I whispered to myself. You’ve been trying so hard to do all these things that you think will bring you a measure of success and you’ve let yourself become unstable. You aren’t rooted in your foundation. You’ve lost the connection with your entire reason for being. You are unplugged from God.
The truth is, I’ve been trying to keep up with SDG, finish the final edits of the book, build a launch team, brainstorm creative ideas for the actual launch, while being a full-time wife and mom. It is SUMMER, too. I’ve let go of that deep quality time with God. I got focused on the “straight leg” and didn’t notice my wobbling foundation.
But God did. And in His graciousness, He pointed it out to me. That night, I shared on our Facebook page:
Today, God was so clear — I have been living off the fumes of worldly chatter and acclamation. “Return to Me,” He calls. And so, tomorrow morning, I am pressing in deep. It’s so easy to be distracted, to check off things on listed on the paper, instead of checking in with the One who died on the tree.
The next morning, I spent time listening and journaling, reading my bible and devotionals. In Jesus Calling, Sarah Young writes:
The Light of My Presence is shining upon you. Brighten up the world by reflecting who I AM.
Then in My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes:
The most wonderful secret of living a holy life does not lie in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfect qualities of Jesus exhibit themselves in my human flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you…” (Col 1:27).
All of this stuff I do…if I am not plugged into the source of Light and Life, it only serves to reflect me, not Jesus. This is not anything new. I’ve written things like this more than I’d care to admit. But being the person I am, I’ve spent much of my life associating work with worth. And it takes a long time to break bad habits. But when I think about God caring about my foundation and not my “work” to straighten my extended leg, when I think about how little a mirror has to “work” to reflect my own image back to me, I have an even clearer picture of what Jesus tries to tell me in Mathew 11:28-30:
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
I finished the final edits for the book on Wednesday morning and spent the rest of the day working on some of the other things I mentioned. And today, Thursday, I felt God whisper…Come to Me and let’s do something else together, yes? God knows I have some FUN! projects around the house I really wanted to get to do. Other work could wait.
I dropped the kids off at camp. We were surprised by an unexpected rain shower in the early morning. When I arrived home, it was still cool, the earth still damp. Perfect for weeding the front yard.
After coming in, I cleaned the kitchen floor (this is FUN! when it’s SO VERY DIRTY and the only thing you want is for it to finally be clean), then did some touch ups in the bathroom I painted last month. I hung the picture I bought at Home Goods (again, last month). And then I started on the biggest project: priming a bookcase I got FOR FREE (last month) that’s going in Hannah’s new room. (Yes, after 7 1/2 years, my children are finally parting ways). I’m typing because I’m just waiting for it to dry. (It’s Friday now and I am DONE with the bookshelf. Wanna see?)
I wonder what space God is going to create for me next week. I just hope I’m listening.
What about you? Has there been something FUN! you’ve been longing to do with God, but you’ve put it off because it didn’t seem worthy?
Upcoming SDG: Connections Posts
On Wednesday, Kelly shares about her pain from being hurt by the church and how God brought restoration to their family.
On Friday, S.L. Payne shares about her chronic pain and how this ties into her becoming a foster mom.
Don’t forget to join us Saturday for Week 8 of our Isaiah 54 study with Dawn Boyer!
Let’s support our sisters who are sharing so bravely, yes?
SDG Gathering Important Information
Lisa Smith is helping me facilitate our gatherings each week. She is visiting those of you who link up on “even” numbers and I am visiting the “odd” (don’t worry, I’m not calling YOU odd). She will also be sharing on Mondays with you from time to time, opening up her heart and life to you, as you faithful do with us each week you link up. We do have some important housekeeping items about this gathering, so if you have not read them, please come here to catch up. The condensed version: Link up ONE post that shares your heart authentically and be sure to check in with some of your sisters who have linked up with you. Leave a heartfelt word of encouragement for them after you visit their space. This is a community where we actively seek to get to know each other.
One last word: Our SDG Newsletter will go out Wednesday. If you’d like to keep up-to-date with upcoming events and see the past month of activities (links to Connections posts, etc), please sign up using the widget on the right sidebar.