Core strength…

With significant spinal fractures caused by brittle bones, and at risk of further fractures if I stumble or move awkwardly, it’s been suggested to me that I should get a balance board to improve my core strength.

curvy-yellow-trousers2 (2)

                                                       Photo credit: Nurture Collective

Physical core strength is stabilising, giving us good balance and preventing unnecessary falls.
Likewise, our mind and soul benefit from a strong foundation, as stability in our innermost being allows us to withstand the waves of life, rather than being knocked off balance.

Our life experiences shape our inner being. Our past can be enabling, or disabling, or typically a mix.
But whatever our lot, we have a choice. We can put energy into what we can change, or we can exhaust ourselves trying to alter what is beyond our power.

We can’t see our physical core, nor can we see the core of our inner being, but the stronger they are, the further the positive ripples of wellbeing extend.

download (3)

So what can we do to increase our soul strength?

As a believer, I find that the more honest I am with God, the stronger I become.
Like everyone, I am inclined to bury uncomfortable thoughts and unsettling fears. But if I recognise them in the presence of God’s liberating light and love, there is healing.
Healing is not about being a passive patient in God’s hands, but rather, a purposeful participant.
It’s about making the changes we need to make, in order to become more aligned with God.
Just as a balance board causes us to adjust our posture and build inner muscle strength, so honesty leads to redemption and restoration, and increases our soul strength.
We will gradually become more balanced, and wobble less.

Wholeness doesn’t mean being without scars. My fractures have healed, but I’m left with deformity, and so I have a choice: to wrap myself in cotton wool, or do everything I can to increase physical core strength and live life to the full.
So, balance board here I come, and as I wobble less and stand as tall as I can, I’ll look to strengthen my soul too…

Truth is… For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Blossom where you’re planted

This week I had nothing to do for 10 minutes! (I was waiting in a car while my son-in-law called into his local library.)
As I sat there wondering what this week’s blog would be about, I noticed some trees lining the pavement. At this time of year the colour of autumn foliage can be breath-taking, but it was their shape that caught my attention.

River_of_Blue

Where the trees were well spaced, each filled its place with beautiful symmetry.
In contrast, the trees that had grown in close proximity to each other had irregular branches, but viewed together as a whole there was an amazing pattern.

It got me thinking – what shapes life? Competition or cooperation?
In my school biology lessons I was taught Darwin’s theories about the ‘struggle for existence’ and ‘survival of the fittest’.
40 years later, I now found myself interested in what shapes growth – not from a scientific perspective, but from an everyday viewpoint.
What determines growth patterns, and what if we apply that question to ourselves?
– Circumstances yes, but also the level of awareness we have in our relationships with others.

Just as trees thrive best in the environment to which they are naturally suited, so too, do we. We all have different abilities (as a believer I would say God-given gifts) and we are most fulfilled when we are able to let these take root and bear fruit.
I enjoy using my practical and creative skills, and I want to be remembered as:

“a maker and a mender”

But as well as personal growth, we need to be mindful of how we fit into the bigger picture.
Just as trees grow alongside each other, and from a wider perspective can be seen to fit together, we too can flourish in relationship with one other.
Our attitudes though, aren’t always conducive to this. Truth is, I have a competitive streak, but ‘doing one’s best’ is quite different to ‘being the best’.

So this week I’m reminded to ‘blossom where I’m planted’

images (8)

– to recognise my gifts and use them for the good of others and enjoy fitting into the bigger picture – like those trees with their amazing pattern.

Truth is… ‘Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits’ 1 Corinthians 12:7