I’ve been sitting on a stability ball as I work on my computer.
I started using the ball because of some back issues and I’ve found it to be a real help in keeping me from stiffening up after sitting for a while. The ball is one of those over-sized kinds with a 21 inch circumference that gives a little when you sit on it. It’s also used for various exercises from Pilates to common exercises like push-ups.
The genius behind using the stability ball is the instability it engenders in the user. Just sitting on the ball reminds a person to sit up straight or hazard falling off. And it also works the small muscles that get overlooked, as well as the larger ones.
It’s kind of like how God works in our lives. God is there to strengthen us in large and small ways. It doesn’t have to involve strenuous effort all of the time. Sometimes just holding still for a short length of time has the effect of teaching us control and giving us stability.
God does that when we learn the art of patience – giving us opportunities to wait and expand our ability to control our impulses or desires to do something when it would be better to hold off.
Like the stability ball, God’s lessons are often subtle and less arduous than we tend to believe. No pain, no gain may have some truth to it, but God uses a lot of stretching exercises that don’t require physical heroics to achieve their purpose.
Giving a smile to a stranger, holding the door open for a homeless person, letting someone cut into your lane of traffic, and other small acts of kindness, when done over time, limber us up to ever more expansive ways of relating to others. And it doesn’t hurt at all. We feel light and supple, so to speak, after these experiences.
The stability ball comes with directions on how to do various exercises with the aid of the ball. The Bible tells us how God has aided humanity throughout time as we’ve stretched and grown as people of faith. Without this aid, life becomes arduous. With aid, what once was drudgery and a chore become more bearable and the impossible becomes possible.
God is not some great athletic trainer in the sky, but there are parallels to physical training and spiritual growth. Look for the understated ways that God is training you to grow in the faith. Realize that even the smallest of movements in a new direction are enough to strengthen you and bring you new balance in your spirit.