Hi everyone, Rob here. Here’s my confession: I should have listened to my mother! “Sit up straight or you’ll ruin your back!” Unfortunately she was right (I think there’s a lesson in here somewhere!). Today I have a rather misaligned back that causes me problems and pain on a regular basis. But, it is being re-trained!
Earlier in the year I sensed God saying that he wanted to do something about my back. I immediately thought he meant healing of the instant, miraculous kind. But no, God’s too clever for that. You see if he’d healed my back I would still have had the same slouching habits that I had before. God wasn’t going after the discomfort; He was going after the habits that lead to the discomfort. He was going after my posture. Through the urging of my wife (you know the kind guys!) I ended up with a Pilates instructor. It has been so good! I’m even sitting up straight as I type this! I get less pain and more movement, all because I’m learning to engage and use the right muscles at the right time. I’m not fixed yet and some old habits remain, but my posture is being corrected and it is making me free; free to pick up my kids, free to play golf, free to sit at my desk and write, free to do so many of the things I love.
What is your posture like? I’m not talking about your spinal column, but your heart towards God. The key to Pilates is engaging your core; those ab muscles that have sat idle for far too long! But can this apply to our spiritual life? Yes.
Just like Pilates we begin with engaging the core muscle; in this case it’s our heart. It disturbs me how often I wander through life with a disengaged heart! But how do we do that? By doing whatever it takes to turn the eyes of the heart towards God in worship, trust and surrender. I need silence and solitude to help me do that. Others use worship music. For others it’s being out and about in God’s creation or doing something creative themselves. It may be being around people and caring about their hearts that helps to engage yours. It may simply be pouring out your life’s highs and lows to God in prayer. Journalling may be useful for you. Just do whatever it takes to engage your heart with God’s heart.
It may be that you need to re-train your heart. You may need to remind yourself constantly that in God’s eyes your heart is good. It may be that you have been so overwhelmed with guilt and shame that you have come to believe that God has abandoned you. It may be that instead of confessing sin, you need to confess God’s glory; his goodness; his love; his patience, kindness and mercy; his forgiveness and his restoration of your heart to his heart. Guilt and shame is from the devil; freedom and joy is from Jesus. That may sound simplistic but consider this: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those ho are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).”
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8;14-17).”
It begins with engagement. That takes practice and patience, but it also bring freedom and joy. Change the habits of a lifetime and get that good heart working!!