Nearly every morning I make myself exercise. I hate it. All that huffing and puffing, and muscles crying out, “Stop! You’re hurting me!” Add to that the boredom factor.
What I do like are the results. My body feels strong. I can still hop up the stairs, lift our toddler granddaughter with relative ease, and get up from a squat without leverage.
I like the increased energy, and the elevated metabolism, too.
But one benefit I never considered until recently: improved balance.
When our muscles are strong, our bodies have an easier time maintaining balance. That means we can reduce the possibility of sprains, injured joints and back, or broken bones.
Three factors contribute to good balance: Stability, strength, and flexibility.
However, it’s not just our bodies that require those three factors. Our spirits need those same characteristics:
- Stability to handle disappointment and frustration,
- Strength to endure loss and pain,
- Flexibility to manage unpleasant surprises.
But how do we create balance in the abstract world of our spirits?
Just as there are many exercises to improve physical balance, there are numerous strategies that contribute to spiritual balance. For example:
- Stability can be enhanced by spending time with stable people. Get in the middle of a Christian support group, and allow them to hold you up with their prayer, concern, encouragement, and counsel. Look for members who demonstrate spiritual maturity and follow their example.
Stability also grows as we spend time in God’s Word. Just as daily physical exercise is important to the body, so is daily reading and contemplation of the Bible. God’s truths and promises, His encouragement and direction, all contribute to our steadfastness of faith.
- Strength can be developed through praise and gratitude. Look for the positive things in your life, and you’ll find yourself experiencing joy. Joy fosters strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Another strategy for building spiritual strength is to affirm God’s character. He is sovereign, all-knowing, and all-powerful. Our Heavenly Father is trustworthy, good and loving. We can stand firm with such a God at our side and in the strength of his mighty power (Ephesians 6:10).
- Flexibility is needed when circumstances don’t meet our expectations. We have a choice when life takes a sudden turn down an unexpected pathway: 1) Fuss, fume, and balk or 2) Go with the flow and see where the pathway leads.
Kaye Arthur suggests: “Change the D of Disappointment to an H, and you have His Appointment.”* Such an attitude can relax the tension in our spirits, and prepare us to be flexible, to embrace the unknown.
Several years ago, I heard about an elderly resident of a senior citizen facility. She was being transferred from the assisted-living apartments to the full-care center.
As the nurse wheeled her through the corridors, the senior saint said, “I just know I’m going to love it.”
The nurse exclaimed, “But Mrs. __________, how do you know? You’ve never seen the full-care section.”
The woman’s profound answer: “I’ve already decided I’m going to love it.”
Such an example of:
Stability—maintaining her emotional equilibrium in spite of circumstances.
Strength—determining ahead of time to look for the positive.
Flexibility—going with the flow to see where the pathway might lead.
Surely, such an attitude reflects trust in a gracious and powerful God, knowledge and application of God’s Word, and a positive attitude of contentment (Philippians 4:11).
If the spiritual stability, strength, and flexibility demonstrated by that elderly woman were transferred into physical traits, she’d be able to balance on one toe. With her eyes closed.
I want to be like that woman in my spirit.
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What strategies help you maintain spiritual balance? Please add your experience and insight to the conversation below!
*His Imprint, My Expression, by Kay Arthur, p. 96.
Photo credit: www.sparkpeople.com.