Tuesday, August 21, 2012

God at the Yoga Studio

Yesterday during yoga class, my instructor said something along the lines of "Spend a moment thinking of what you want to take away from this practice. Maybe it's one word." Being a bit, er, verbose, I gave in and allowed myself to pick two words. 

Worshipful rest.

If you've been reading along much this summer, you might begin to detect a theme. I've been realizing in the past few months how much I need to make rest-- mental, physical, and spiritual-- a part of my life, even in the busiest seasons. This kind of rest doesn't just involve sitting on a couch or sleeping in-- although that kind is important too!-- it flows from a deeply rooted realization that God is at the center of the universe, not me (talk about taking the pressure off!) and that He loves me and has already provided all I need in Him. 

So, it was nice and easy to focus on "worshipful rest" while lifting my arms to the sky, doing nice, friendly stretches, and breathing deeply. Ten minutes later, however, when our yoga instructor had us in positions that can't be described with words, "worshipful rest" was the last thing on my mind. In fact, I was enlisting every elbow, wrist, and knee to keep myself from melting down into the pose (something advanced yogis say feels "so good.") At some point during something painful involving muscles I don't typically bend diagonally, I heard Him whisper, "Will you rest even when I lead you through seasons of discomfort?" 

It was convicting because it made me realize, I like some kinds of rest-- when it involves Sleepy Time tea and beautiful mountain scenes-- but not others. I don't, for example, like to trust the Lord with the outcomes of broken relationships when I've done everything in my power to restore but they remain estranged. I don't, for example, like to rest in His timing for revealing where our next rent payment is going to come from or for providing the much-longed for healing from a past emotional wound. I don't even like to acknowledge the fact that He, not I, is at the center of the universe when my day doesn't go as planned. 

When I'm eating a delicious meal and looking forward to a good night's sleep, "restful worship" feels warm and fuzzy. But when conflict arises in a relationship or even when something silly goes wrong, like getting stuck in traffic without something "productive" to be doing, restful worship sounds like an impossible task. Just as I don't know how to physically relax when I'm stretching in a new and uncomfortable way, I don't know how to rest in the Lord when it involves remaining in discomfort. But He is a good and kind teacher, and He cares for me. He wants to see me grow and learn-- even if that means using something like a yoga class to help me understand better-- that it's possible to live in all seasons knowing that He is at the center. 

It doesn't mean my discomfort (or even pain!) will go away. It just means that I'll be able to rest in the midst of it, knowing that He loves me and has provided all I need in Him.

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