©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
“Stand on the noodle with both feet. Do not hold on to anything around you.”
The instructor called out those directions to all of us gathered in the pool for water aerobics.
I well remember when I first heard those instructions years ago. The long Styrofoam noodle seemed too long and too rounded; and I was too unsteady to put my weight on it and let go… without floundering and falling.
Then I slipped. The noodle shot to the surface, leaving me to flail in the water.
The core could hold me steady if I let it. But I had to learn to find it and stop fighting it.
Practice after practice, week after week of struggling to depend on my core got me to a point where I could remain almost completely still and confident as I stood on the noodle. Initially, I used my hands to stabilize me, sculling them on my sides.
Over time, I grew to depend less on my hands and more on my core.
Our instructor also wanted us to kneel on the noodle. As we struggled to kneel, gravity fought to pull the noodle out from under our knees. It attempted to disrupt our steady kneeling and dump us into the chlorinated pool.
When we’re kneeling, we’re held afloat.
But I wanted to be more comfortable and change my position.
So, I wiggled. Then wobbled. Then I lost my balance, tipping sideways.
Smack! The wet noodle whacked me on the head as it shot to the surface.
Interestingly, the more I knelt, the steadier I became.
Then came another exercise in core engagement. While we stood on the noodle, the leader wanted us to lift our knees into our chest then straighten our legs back to standing. Those water crunches engaged our core through the ups and downs as we tried to keep our feet firmly on the noodle.
More and more, I engaged the core and trusted it would keep me steady. And it did.
Every now and then though, I wiggle and wobble – and remind myself I’m only a slip away.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12 NIV
Ahh, the water noodle wisdom that demonstrates how to strengthen our spiritual walk.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:14-15 NIV
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 NIV
Stay connected in the ups and downs
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV
Engage the core
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…Ephesians 3:16 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-9 NIV
- What exercise or sports activity have you tried that became easier with practice?
- Which principles of Christ are the most challenging for you to stand firm in believing, trusting or following?
- In what ways have you recently seen the Holy Spirit at work in your life?
- What have you learned from a recent up or down experience?
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2
Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™