by Joanie Butman
My Pilates instructor decided to ‘shake things up’ this week by introducing a new routine that involved jumping on a reformer. Not known for my coordination, it was challenging. My aging body is still screaming in rebellion. One of the moves involved jumping in reverse, which was particularly tricky as you couldn’t see the landing pad. You just had to trust that your feet would land in the proper position without mishap. I wondered whether Pilates instructors were bound by the Do No Harm credo. I got through it – not gracefully, but it will get smoother the more familiar I get with the choreography. Sounds a bit like my spiritual journey.
God has a way of ‘shaking things up’ for sure. When you invite Him into your life, there is a paradigm shift. Nothing changes, yet everything changes – or at least your perception does. Undoubtedly, it takes a giant leap of faith to embrace a new reality, changing old patterns of thinking and behaving, and being open to new challenges and possibilities. Naturally, you might feel awkward, nervous and fearful of the unknown. There was nothing graceful about the first, faltering steps of my faith journey. They were hesitant, stumbling efforts like my recent Pilates class. I couldn’t see where I was going to land then either. I just had to believe it would be right where God wanted me, which I did and continue to do – sometimes in the most unusual, unexpected places, rarely where I was anticipating.
We are asked to take leaps of faith every day, trusting in the goodness of God’s plan despite our fear or evidence to the contrary. We’re to forge ahead even when every fiber of our being is screaming in rebellion and we want to cling to the security of the known even when it’s destructive. Human beings are creatures of habit, and sometimes we need a little shaking up to snap us out of our lethargy, energize us and push us forward. When we choose to step forward in faith, our gait, though shaky, will be graceful because it is infused with His presence. It doesn’t depend on our grace but God’s, which He provides in abundance.
Spiritual muscles have to be toned the same way physical muscles do – even more so. After a certain age, there is only so much you can achieve physically. The pull of gravity is more powerful than any Pilates routine. I’ve accepted that my sagging boobs and butt will never be lifted up without surgical intervention. Thank goodness for Spanx. However, spiritual growth has no age restrictions and isn’t confined by the laws of physics. There is always room for growth and no limits to the heights to which we can be lifted.
Same old, same old doesn’t help you develop physical or spiritual muscle. There’s no such thing as spiritual Spanx to rely on. Divine toning and muscle development take hard work, and when complacency sets in, you can be sure God will step in to ‘shake things up’ like my Pilates instructor. God’s all about cross-training, putting people and situations in your life to exercise your faith in new and challenging ways.
Spiritual growth is intentional. Choose to be open to His promptings discovering new muscles or long dormant ones. It’s the best self-improvement program available.