This past Monday night was like any other Monday night for me. I headed on over to my yoga studio to enjoy a couple of hours of self-care and relaxation. About half-way through the first class, Meghan, our teacher, guided us into a deep squat, something I’ve done many times before. But on Monday the only thought that went through my mind as I went into that squat was,
“OH. MY. GOODNESS! What has happened to my hips?!”
It felt like my hips might snap right off my body! I stayed there in the squat, but I had a grimace on my face the entire time. We could not get out of that pose fast enough.
I knew I was tired when I walked into the studio that night. In fact, I had considered not even going on Monday because I’d just gotten in town the night before after spending the weekend leading a women’s conference in Kentucky. The last three days had been full of sitting, standing, and more sitting, but no meaningful stretching or moving. However, I knew that the best thing I could do for my body was to move and stretch in meaningful ways, so off I went to class.
The rest of our time went great. My hips didn’t snap off, and I actually felt energized and stayed for the warm power class immediately after.
As we started the class Meghan said, “Tonight’s flow is going to be a little different. Sometimes we do the same things and start to expect what’s coming. But pay attention because this will be different.” That’s all she said. No heads up on how it was going to be different. Just a word of encouragement to make sure we listened well to her voice so we would know where to go.
I noticed quickly that we were working into our hips a lot. That was good, because clearly I had some major tension piled up there! It didn’t take long for the discomfort I had felt in the earlier class to fade away. My muscles were getting warm as I was slowly, but intentionally, led into new stretches that would help relax my muscles and relieve the tension.
A little over half-way through class, Meghan had us in some really new stretches and I started to become suspicious. “What on earth are we doing? I can’t go much further here. Surely I’m about to enter some territory that is impossible for me.” Regardless of my insecurities, we just kept moving on in our stretching and moving. Meghan never said a word about where we were headed. She just kept leading us forward.
Finally, Meghan did the big reveal. All of this very intentional stretching and moving was to prepare our bodies for a pose we had never tried before: eight angle pose. It’s just as crazy as it sounds, believe me!
But there we were—ready to try something that, in my mind, I was definitely not ready for. She taught us how to get in position, and led us step by step through every piece of it. And to my absolute shock and delight, I was in eight angle pose for the first time!
“I had no idea I could do that,” I said. “I didn’t know we were moving toward that tonight! If I HAD known, I would have been freaking out the whole time!”
“See,” she said. “You don’t need to know where we’re going.”
And there it is.
She was absolutely right.
I didn’t need to know where we were going in that class. The only thing I needed to do was listen to the guiding voice of my teacher. She knew where we were going, and she knew how to get us there safely. Meghan also told me that she knew I had it in me to find that pose. And she was right! But I still needed to to be properly prepared if I was going to be successful.
I can’t help but think about what God said to Abram in Genesis 12:1.
“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
In other words, “You don’t need to know where we’re going. Just go and I will make sure you get there safely.”
“So Abram went, as the LORD had told him…Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed Haran.”
I don’t know about you, but this is amazing to me. Abram just went!
He didn’t say, “Okay, but…where, exactly, are we going? Is it going to be far away? Is this a nice place? Is this a comfortable place? And, oh, I’m S-E-V-E-N-T-Y F-I-V-E years old! I’m not sure I have it in me to make such a journey.”
None of that.
God made a promise to Abram that he would be blessed, and through him all the families in the world would be blessed. And then God told him to, “Go,” and Abram WENT.
God spoke and informed Abram of the general plan. “I’m going to bless you. That’s a promise. Now, let’s journey someplace new together.” And Abram got up, gathered his family and his belongings and went, listening to the guiding voice of God through every stage of the journey.
Read Genesis 12 and you’ll notice that God speaks (makes a promise), and Abram goes. God speaks (reiterates the promise), and Abram goes. Over and over again. Abram traveled on “through stages” listening to the guiding, promising, faithful voice of the LORD every stage of his journey. And as Abram listened and journeyed, God continued to reveal more and more of where they were ultimately going to him.
God is asking you to do the same. He knows what is best for you. He knows how to use your life to be a blessing to others. He knows your capacity and capabilities—because He is the one who empowers you and gifts you in the first place. He knows you have it in you to be and do exactly what He would have you be and do. He knows that you can do things and live in new ways that may currently seem impossible to you. And if He revealed it all to you now, you just might freak out—either that or you would take it from Him and begin attempting to do it all in your own strength and power.
But there’s the journey, see. The journey is the preparation. The journey is where we are stretched and strengthened. The journey is where our faith muscles are built. It’s where we learn to listen, and where we gain the experiences that prove over and over again to us that our God can absolutely be trusted to lead us and guide us in the best way possible. And through each stage of our journey we arrive someplace new with greater experience, faith, and knowledge of God’s love, faithfulness, power and trustworthiness.
How is God asking you to trust Him right now? Is God asking you to journey forward with Him into some unknown territory? I bet He is. Someway. Somehow. He is always calling us forward on some level with Him.
Will you listen to His voice and trust that He knows the way? Will you believe that He is not going to lead you toward failure, or toward your demise? Will you put yourself in a position to listen? And will you be brave and just take the next, faithful step as God leads you?
If you do this, it won’t be long before you can look back and see that you are someplace wonderful that you never thought was possible for you. Maybe you’ll be in the middle of a new adventure. Maybe you’ll be giving more than you ever thought was possible. Maybe you’ll be healthier or more at peace than you’ve ever been.
I don’t know, but God knows.
And He knows that if you will journey with Him, your life will be full of joy, and you’ll be a blessing to others in a significant way. And that’s better than hitting the pretzeliest yoga pose on the planet.