Monday, October 31, 2011

Reflections on Yoga

In the last four months, I have learnd that I love yoga. I love going to the studio when it's dark outside, breathing deeply, listening to the plinky-plunky music as I start the week. Now, I don't really get into all of the third-eye-chakra-light-within-you parts of yoga, but I do appreciate its focus: yoga is all about strength, flexibility and balance. However strange a source yoga practic is, these have been themes in my life this year.

I have felt a desperate weakness more than once since my husband left for the desert. There is no control for military families. I can't call up the Colonels or Generals and let them know how I really feel about them taking my husband for a year, or to enlighten them on the actual benefit of their morale programs. And letting my husband know how awful it is on my side of the ocean is only advisable on occasion, because he can't do anything to change the situation either.

It is in these moments of desperate weakness that I am reminded of my El Shaddai, my All-Sufficient God, who has "said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weakness, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong," (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, New American Standard Version).

It is comforting to me to know that not only does God cover me with His strength when I am weak, but that his grace, the undeserved favor he offers me, is apparently the source of that strength. Sufficiency has as its meaning not only the idea of being enough for something, but also an element of defense, warding off that which would threaten resting in the arms of the Almighty (Strongs, 2001). I am daily being stretched beyond what I thought were my limits, constantly needing to rely on the strength of the Lord for the patience, joy and comfort to not only survive this deployment, but to enjoy the days the Lord has made.

When I was in high school, a new pastor at my church gave a sermon entitled, "Keys to Authentic Christianity". I don't remember anything from that sermon, except that he emphasized the need for believers to have "joyful flexibility" in all things. I fairly certain he was preaching through Philippians at the time, and if I had to pick a passage that represented joyful flexibility, it would be Philippians 4:11-13 (my apologies, Tim, if this is wrong):

       " Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any        and every circumstanc I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (New American Standard Version).  

I know that these circumstances of my life are teaching me the secret of being satisfied in the Lord. Not that have it down, by any stretch (ha) of the imagination, but God is faithful to complete the work He's started in me. I know I can rely on the strength of the Lord on lonely nights and fearful days. I am learning to be joyfully flexible whether my husband is home or away, whether or not my family is two minutes, to hours, or two days from me, whether I have a job or not. I know I don't sit at the controls of life.

At the end of practice, my yoga instructor leads us through easy, slow stretches. As we slowly lower into the position, she says, "Be good with where you're at." In spite of the poor grammar, it struck me as profound. Be good with where you're at - don't push beyond what you're able, but make sure you can feel the stretch.

"Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10, NIV). This is how I will truly find strength, flexibility and balance in my life.

2 comments:

  1. I remember the Authentic Christianity series! It is crazy you blogged about it because just yesterday I was on the freeway and contemplating what "joyful flexibility" actually means in my life! Thanks for your blog Katie!!

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  2. Also had that conversation with several different people over the years! Yes, joyful flexibility!
    Appreciate your take on yoga. And the spiritual apps. Pilates lover myself and had my doubts about yoga b.c of the chakra part of it, glad to have my scope broadened... or stretched:) Agreeing with you on the "be good with where you're at" thing as well.

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