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Last summer I realized that stretching was a great way to deal with accumulated stress. So this morning when I woke up a bit achy, I popped in a video and leaned into some focused relaxation. As I moved through the exercises, I became increasingly aware that the instructor's admonitions to continue to breathe, stop tensing the shoulders and enjoy the stretches were aimed directly at me. Stretching shouldn't be such hard work!

My daughter is currently reading a book by John Ortberg entitled "The Me I Want to Be." One of the chapters, entitled "Try Softer," was on my mind while I was exercising this morning. Ortberg says that we often live our Christian lives on the principle of trying harder. But that may be what dooms our endeavours to become Christlike. Maybe we should try softer instead. "Trying softer means focusing more on God's goodness than our efforts. It means being more relaxed and less self conscious. Less pressured".

Too much intentionality may be counterproductive. Bearing down is exactly the wrong direction that I need to go when I'm trying to elongate my tightened muscles and tendons. I wonder if the same thing is true with pursuing peace. Maybe I shouldn't try so hard. Maybe it's more about releasing, more about trusting and less about setting a new goal.
 
Well, the good news is that Dan and I have decided, after returning from Florida on Thursday, to head back south for a few more weeks. My soul needs some more time to rest. But more than that, I need a chance to reboot. After years of making myself a project, it's time to see what my soul has become, to sit back and see what bubbles up from my heart. It's good to be intentional; to focus on spiritual practices, on skills and habits. But at some point it's time to free yourself from your own inner coach and head out to play for the sheer joy of being in the game.

Aletheia
1/8/2011 06:52:12 am

Really like this--hope Florida is truly a rest for your body, mind, and soul. Love you.

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