Strengthening My Core

Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

“OUCHHHHH…’
“I’m OKAY!” I screamed on live broadcast, as my bottom hit the icy ground.

Sal and I were at the entryway of a train tunnel in the Nevada mountains we were about to explore, when I decided in my naivety to go Live on social media and share this new adventure with our friends. Distracted by what I was doing, I didn’t realize I was stepping on hardened, slippery snow and not the fluffy powder we saw on the slopes earlier that day.

That night I iced my bruised bottom and hip, and calmed down my equally-injured ego. How could I have been so stupid? I am no longer as resilient as a child. I need to be more careful now. I could have easily broken my bones or messed up my already-imperfect spine. This fall landed me not only on the hard ice, but also at my physical therapist’s office a week later.

My visit with the physical therapist helped me physically, as expected, but also proved to be an unexpected spiritual help. He extended his hand and shook mine, introducing himself as Daniel. He asked me how I was, and my reply was a quick, “Good , but I would be better once this thing gets resolved.”

Daniel sat me in his office, talked to me briefly, had me stand up and did some testing. He had me do four exercises that were supposed to help me. He told me he could give me more but research has proven that when a patient is given more than three things to do, compliance goes down.

I blurted out “ohhhhh and ahhh’s” as I performed the exercises and questioned him about why certain parts of my body hurt. He told me my core was weak. He taught me how to sit down and how to get out from lying down to the upright position, properly. These things are so routine, we hardly give a second thought to. Two phrases he uttered while all this was happening rang in my ear, “the healing process will take weeks to months, ” and “you need to strengthen your core.”

I went home disappointed that Daniel did not magically give me a potion which could take away the pain right there and then.
Knowing I had to do some disciplined work and that the pain might linger for a while, added to my annoyance.

That night as I started practicing the exercises, I reflected on those two phrases, “the healing process will take weeks to months, ” and you need to strengthen your core.” This reverberated in my ear! I have heard of “core-strengthening exercises” on numerous occasions from exercise gurus but never really paid much attention to them. After seeing how my body was so out of shape, I realized I needed to do some changing. Disciplining myself was vital but I have to be patient with myself as well. It is a process. I realized I needed this change not only physically but spiritually, too. 1 Timothy 4:8 states, For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

For the past several months, I had reflected on my prayer life and walk with my LORD. Although I read His Word and devote a good hour or hour-and-a-half meditating and talking to Him at the start of the day, I have been feeling a disconnect, a longing for more of Him. I expressed this Christmas morning in a poem I penned:

As I worship on this morning of Your birth                                                                   I cogitate on my relationship with You.                                                                         I look back and long for those days                                                                                              Of arising from my slumber excitingly exalting Your Name.                       Bubbling waters of joy stirring inside my heart                                                                                                   Overflowing in praise of You.                                                                                                    Moments when my soul seems to transcend                                                           to the heights, of shouting glory to Your Name.                                                    As unexplainable, incomprehensible uplifting,                                                        A glimpse of heaven above.

Yes, I long for those days.                                                                                                 What has obstructed my view of Your star up above?                                   What has crowded my thoughts and stolen my hear?                                                What thistles are growing on my soil?                                                                     What birds are eating the seeds?

Take me back, O Father, I pray                                                                                                                   Back on the road to Bethlehem,                                                                                        Reroute my wanderings                                                                                                   Let my bare feet return to those dusty roads                                                                     Lead them back to the manger                                                                                     Where Your Son in swaddling clothes laid.

Restore in me the joy of my salvation,                                                                             Let it be as fresh as the early morning dew                                                                     Let my heart once again sing                                                                                     With shouts of adoration for my King.                                                                                     That all the earth may hear                                                                                                   Glad tidings Your angels bring.

Focus my vision once more in You                                                                               As a hawk swooping down to its prey                                                                                Let my hearing be sharper than the owl’s                                                                                        Listening for Your anointed Word each day.                                                                        Let me seek You with intensity, in each and every way.

Grant to me, O LORD, I pray                                                                                         On this, Your very special day.

If I can rewind back to that day and learn my lesson without the falling down incident, I would choose that.  But am I thankful I did fall and bruise my bottom? You bet I am. Though it was a pain, it has taught me more lessons than I could have ever imagined. God’s hand and His loving mercy, grace, faithfulness, and protection enveloped me in that fall, and has shown me how to proceed upon a firmer foundation.

 

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