In the last year, my workout routine has evolved to include strength training with bodyweight exercises. I often pick workouts at random without knowing where they will necessarily lead me. You could say I’m letting the Holy Spirit lead me to the right one.
Lately, the workouts are more focused on my “core.” I’ve often resisted these workouts because they are hard. They stretch my body in ways I don’t want to be stretched -- like my abs! I don’t love the feeling of pain during the workout and then soreness as my body is being stretched to new levels of strength.
One day, I was pondering why I kept being led to work on my core during one of my workouts, and I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me saying, “Because it’s good for you. It’s essential to the body. Much like the core of the spiritual life.”
That was an “aha” moment.
If you’re like me, I tend to gravitate to what I like in the spiritual life. Prayer forms that speak to me. Attractive topics and Scripture passages. Priests and churches that share the engaging messages I prefer to hear. Fellow Catholics who tend to agree with me. Service forms that feel comfortable.
But in clinging to what I like, am I challenging myself to go out into deeper water and more uncomfortable territory? Am I truly growing in the “core” of the spiritual life -- prayer, worship, community, service, and Scripture? Am I letting the Spirit lead me in ways that strengthen my “core” or am I boxing the Spirit in?
The way of strengthening is the way of stretching -- in any aspect of life including spirituality and faith. We can’t grow stronger in these core dimensions without being stretched beyond the familiar and comfortable.
So consider: How is God trying to strengthen your “core,” and are you letting Him?