We love the idea of following God’s lead. We marvel at the changes a sovereign God brings. What isn’t so thrilling is when God—without warning—stretches us far beyond our capacity.
One morning not long ago I simply rolled over in bed, and I felt a sharp POP in my back—followed by an excruciating current up my spine. I had thrown my back out just by rolling over in bed! I eased out of bed and literally had to crawl across the room.
A couple of days later at my physician’s office, he entered the room with my x-rays under his arm. “Your back is fine,” he said. “You’re real problem is something else.”
Hint: It’s the same problem in my spiritual life. (And yours.)
The Core Problem
“You need to strengthen your core.”
“You mean,” I asked, “my back hurting has nothing to do with my back?” He nodded and prescribed me several appointments with a physical therapist who would teach me how to strengthen my core.
The first thing the physiotherapist did was lay me on a table, grab my straight leg, and proceed to fold my frame so that my knee touched my ear.
“Yee-ouch!” I howled.
“Congratulations,” the therapist said. “You win the inflexibility award.”
Winning the Inflexibility Award
As I lay there panting, a phrase came to mind I’ve heard many times:
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.
No, that’s not one of Jesus’ Beatitudes, but it is an attitude that makes all the difference in your emotional and spiritual health. Let me put you on that table for a moment. Are you a flexible person?
- You had your heart set on Mexican food, but your family chooses a salad bar. Are you flexible?
- You made a stupendous presentation to your company, but the division manager announces, “We’re going to head in a different direction.” Are you flexible?
- You settle into your favorite chair on Saturday to relax and read a book, and across the house you hear someone shout: “There’s a leak in the hall bathroom!” Are you flexible?
You see, spiritual flexibility often is nothing more than trusting God with the unexpected.
3 Exercises to Strengthen Your Spiritual Core
I left the physical therapist each day with a set of stretching exercises to strengthen my core. Spiritually speaking, we need to learn to respond well when God stretches us. Here are 3 mental exercises that may help:
- Remember that nothing that surprises you today will surprise God. He is in complete control.
- If you’re in an environment where the only constant is change, choose a different goal than control, quality, or predictability. Make it your goal to respond well—to stay flexible—to the inevitable changes that will come.
- Choose to define success in terms of attitude rather than simply results.
You may not (read: will not) be able to control the details of your day. (Especially with a sovereign God stretching you.) But you can control how you respond to the unpredictability of your day.
God stretches us beyond our capacity to strengthen the core of our lives—our trust in Him.
“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.”
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