I’m lying flat on my back on a yoga mat. It’s purple, clammy and smells of disinfectant. The instructions I hear, intended to help me to relax, are not having that effect. I notice that the escape route to the door that I had strategically mapped out has now closed. My comfortable space and inconspicuous location has also disappeared. What was the back is now the front. I am trapped in yoga hell.
Out of My Comfort Zone
No doubt about it, I am OUT of my comfort zone. What I thought was a basic stretching class, is not. Everyone around me is flexible, relaxed and eager. And then, fully aware of my increasing discomfort, the heat intensifies. Yep, yoga hell.
It is safe to say, like a fish out of water I don’t belong here.
But do any of us? Totally fit? In every setting?
Not our Home
In many ways, we don’t. Thank God, we don’t. And it makes total sense. This world is not our home. We indeed are foreigners and exiles just as Peter addressed the early Christians in 1 Peter 2:11.
I Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles…
The Mindful Warrior
That truth hits home when the ‘guest’ instructor, introduces herself as Vanessa, the mindful warrior. A perky millennial with trendy hair and even cooler yoga clothes guides us to breathe in the good and exhale the bad. And if we stick with her this class promises to reclaim our center and ground our being. Adding to my discomfort is a healthy dose of cynicism.
I feel vulnerable. Trying desperately to make the most of it… she tells us to close our eyes and think of our past hurts and negative things ever said about us. A strange request? Now I’m with you, I think. Finally something I’m good at. Without much effort, my mind is flooded as I recall all kinds of yuck directed at me. And just for good measure, I linger over the time in highschool when Cindy told me that Scott was “SURE” to ask me to the prom. Instead, Scott asked Cindy. Double whammy. In the same week I’m not chosen and betrayed.
Let it Go
In that ugly place, my breathing labored, “Jesus” I whisper. It’s both a prayer and a plea. Then trendy-haired yoga chick invites us to release all of our negative energy. Well at least that’s helpful. I attempt to do so.
Barely with her, she invites us to recall all the positive things declared about us. Hmm that was unexpected. It takes a minute, but I allow myself to think, one by one, of my positives. Eventually, I do breathe easier.
Let it all go
Too soon, however, the mindful warrior says to let that good stuff go, too. I’m slower than the others, but I’m catching on. We’re emptying ALL of our labels and losses, pride and pain.
“What’s left?” asks Vanessa. Amazingly, in an instant one word comes to mind: His. I am His.
Deuteronomy 7:6 ”For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
His. Yes, that’s it. I whisper the word in my mind and cling to it, telling myself it’s a good word to declare over myself. For the rest of the class, I feel better about being there, heart full of gratitude for His claim on me in this place where I don’t fit. When I get home, I bring my word before the Lord. He hands it back to me with an exclamation point. There is more to it, He suggests. His Word calls me to so much more.
Romans 8:37 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
1 Peter 2:5 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:9,10 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
If you have ever been wronged, hurt or cast aside, those declarations from scripture are hallelujah words. And to top it off… the Lord Himself was the target of much worse disregard. Yet, He took it for a great purpose. Yes, He took it and endured the cross to reclaim you so that you could walk as a grounded being in all that you are in the security of being His.
With renewed confidence I realize I am indeed more.
I am conquering, chosen, special, forgiven, and loved.
Knowing and resting in that powerful truth causes me to wonder what I should do with my more-ness?
I realize I can’t simply rest in the comfort and security of being His. I have a responsibility. Be more in Him, He instructs — more loving, more forgiving, more merciful, and more kind. Then, as I live in this way, in striking contrast to the watching world, it should attract others and compel them to want what I have –a heritage in Christ with a driving motivation to be more.
With all due respect to my yoga friends… please know I love and admire you. Believe it or not, I have two nieces who are yoga instructors. Yes… I am still uncomfortable among you. But on that one courageous day I was transformed from survivor of advanced yoga to a thriver. And thanks to Vanessa, the mindful warrior, I became a grounded being with a reclaimed center in Jesus and I left empowered to be more. Hallelujah!