This is my first post in my write31days challenge for this year. My regular readers know that I love Jesus, and that I also began practicing yoga in January. I was mostly just looking for a way to soothe some intense, unrelenting back pain and I ended up where I am now: a passionate pursuer of Jesus with a 2+ times a day yoga habit.
Let's start with the title: it is straight from my favorite chapter in the book of Acts. Paul and Silas are traveling, spreading the good news that Jesus is the Son of God who has come to save sinners from death to life. They arrive in Athens, where they are greeted by droves of idols. Those to whom he preached were curious, and wanted to know more. Paul looked around and this is what he told them,
Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. Acts 17:22b-23
These people were worshiping numerous deities, looking for answers, truth and life. and Paul had it for them.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:24-28a.
This is what we have in Jesus. We have the presence of the living God dwelling inside of us. This God gives life and breath and everything, and each one is a gift that He has made. My yoga practice helps me embrace my life and everything in it as a spectacular gift from God. I am a captive that has been set free, and I am now able to live fully with a clean heart.
I will be honest; before I started practicing, I didn't see how Christians could be involved with yoga, or why they would want to. We have Jesus. We have prayer. We have the Holy Spirit, the Bible, worship, service, the church; why yoga? I put this aside, however, and came to my first class with an open mind. And God met me on my mat. Over the last nearly ten months, He has continued to do so, and I have learned so much about myself, my world and my Jesus through the practice of yoga.
Yoga clears my head so I can be still and know that Jesus is my Savior, my God, and my sustainer. It frees me to see that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and that all the Lord has made is good. I create art as I move with my body and remember Jesus who was there when the foundations of the world were created. I sit in uncomfortable places and let God hold me in them, and carry me out. But most of all, I think, what my practice has cultivated in me is a deep, rooted sense of gratitude. I have been able to see all of the good and gracious gifts I've been given, and praise Jesus for all that He has done, is doing, and will do when rescue is made complete.
If you're a yoga person, I hope you enjoy this expression of my faith.
If you're a Christian and a yoga skeptic, I hope you read this with an understanding that there are many kinds of spiritual disciplines and expressions. God meets me when I do yoga. It doesn't have to be your thing, but it's mine, and I am so excited to share my experiences with you.
And everyone, you are invited to come here, to breath deeply, and to enjoy your life as God's creation.