Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste

Many people ask me what kind of yoga I teach. They know it’s Holy Yoga and the intention is connecting with Jesus but what about the physical part?

Isn’t that like us? I do it too…there is this, “Yah, Yah but what kind of a work out am I getting?” We are more interested in calories burned and hardened abs and HOW QUICKLY CAN I LOSE 5 POUNDS???

We are rushed in life.  Why would it be any different in our workouts?

But here’s the thing…Yoga is not just a work out.  And Holy Yoga is certainly not just a work out.

A lovely woman came to my class for the first time last week and afterward said, “That was great, I worked out and went to church.”  I feel this way too after Holy Yoga and that’s why I love it but I can’t help but wonder…Am I multitasking my faith?

Faith can’t be rushed.  It grows and builds and we mature and God does a new thing in us but it takes time. We learn patience and trust.

In Matthew 11:28 we hear this from Jesus, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?

God is not in a hurry.  But He is always right on time.

I remember reading the book, “The Hurried Child” when my kids were young and making a conscious effort to not hurry my kids, to not be in a hurry, to not rush around and panic.  Truth is, I failed miserably at times.  But there has always been an awareness in me, a longing for peace and calm.  I realized that I couldn’t get that on my own since the world was shouting, “HURRY UP YOU ARE LATE!” but I could get that peace and calm through my walk with Jesus.

When I feel anxious, I can physically feel panic and hurry in my heart and in my body and my mind now.  I recognize the signs. I feel overwhelmed and that is my cue to get with Jesus. Breathe. Move.  I can do all three of those things right here in my office or on a walk or in my living room.  My favorite way to get those three things together is to do Holy Yoga.

Not to push or force myself into a handstand or do something fancy that will look amazing on Instagram, but to get quiet and be with the Lord who is gentle and takes things slow.  The hardest part about surrendering to this gentleness is the way we treat ourselves.  We rush ourselves, pushing change and believing that transformation can and must happen overnight. We are not gentle with ourselves.  It all begins there really.

So when people ask me about the physical part of my Holy Yoga classes, I recognize they really want to know, I can’t dismiss it and say, “It’s not about that” even though it’s not.  I let them know that it’s not about performance, it’s about connecting with your body and your soul. It’s about appreciating the gift of your body.  It’s about opening your heart, accepting where you are and trusting.

Sounds a lot like our faith walk, huh?

I was inspired today by an article I read on Facebook.  In it, the author, J. Brown, says about Yoga, “Slower is Stronger” and “Gentle is the New Advanced”.  Here’s the link to the article if you are interested.  http://www.jbrownyoga.com/blog/2015/4/slow-yoga-revolution

I love this line:

People are discovering again that yoga is not necessarily something you do to yourself so much as something you do with yourself. -J. Brown

This whole thing…yoga…walking with Jesus…Life…it can seem overwhelming and we can feel behind and not enough.  We can feel like we need to hurry up or we will be left alone, we will be forgotten, we will be unhealthy and sick and weak.  Think about if a friend came to you and honestly poured out her heart and told you she feels all these things.  What would you do? You would encourage her and love her and tell her you are with her and she can do it.  Would you demand she throw away all the chocolate, run 5 miles today, mend all her relationships this hour and immediately confess all her sins?

No.  You would not.  You would be kind and understanding and compassionate toward her.  You would be gentle.

That’s a good place to start with yourself too.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

I just found saw this and had to share. So funny. No rush. Jesus. Breathe. Move. :)

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Limitations as Invitations

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In our Holy Yoga training the other day, we learned this: “Limitations in our lives equate to freedom”.

We were talking about physical limitations relating to yoga but honestly, that statement just blew me away.  The Truth is that when we accept our limits and need to lean into God’s strength and power, we are transformed.

We all have limitations in our lives. If we listened to the world we would see these limitations as road blocks. We could (and some of us have) allowed these limitations to defeat us.  We throw up our hands and say, “Well, I can’t do that thing (fill in the blank) because I’m too weak, poor, sick, heavy, uneducated, unfit, scared, busy, etc. (fill in the blank).”

Since we all endure different limitations (they can be physical, emotional, spiritual)  and we all have unique dreams, let me just get really general with this statement,   “I can’t fulfill my life’s dream because I am too broken.”

So we give up.

This is where we may go if we see limitations as road blocks.

But here’s the thing.

We are all broken.

Yes.

Not, “Y’all are broken.” But “WE ALL ARE BROKEN.”

Even the people that have fulfilled their dreams. Even the people you think  have it all together. Even the people you see chasing their dreams right now.

Saying you are broken is not admitting defeat, it is declaring VICTORY! It brings FREEDOM.

Freedom from pretending and wearing a false mask and striving and playing God and striving for control.  It means freedom from our sins and our weaknesses and our addictions.  It means that we aren’t supposed to be able to do everything perfectly. When we admit we have limitations and we need God, we can rest and be free from needing to please and protect and be all things to all people. We accept God’s grace. We offer ourselves Grace. We go out into the world and offer Grace to others.

To stand before the Lord and say, “Yah, guess what Lord? I don’t have it altogether. I am not perfect. I can’t figure it out, fix it, mend it, create it, heal it on my own. I need you.  I can’t make good choices all the time. Honestly, Lord, I’m not sure which one is the good choice sometimes. I can’t keep my kids from harm.  I can’t save people. I can’t save myself.  My humanness keeps getting in the way. Broken seems like a harsh word.  It really doesn’t roll off my tongue.  I feel a little squirmy saying it. I say it and then I think, “Wait, I’m not that bad. Broken seems harsh.” I don’t want to say I’m broken because this world has taught me that admitting weakness means I am…well…weak. A fate worse than death here in America Lord. We are bred to brag and achieve and compete and strive and gain and accomplish and never, ever let anyone see us sweat. Lord, I ask you to remove that burden from us. It’s just so tiring Lord. Take it away. Teach us the Truth. You came to turn this world upside down. You came and did a new thing. You said the WEAK will become STRONG. You said BLESSED are the POOR IN SPIRIT.  You, Lord, came and washed feet. You were a servant. You did not demand a King’s robe and crown of jewels. You came as a vulnerable baby and died under a crown of thorns.  Lord, it is really hard for us to let go of what we have learned from this world. We don’t like our limitations. We don’t like it when we feel weak. We are uncomfortable asking for help. We think we long for perfection. We think we long to be rulers of our own little kingdoms but Lord, you know what we really want is peace and joy and love everlasting. We want the freedom that comes from you. So we have limitations. We are human. You are God and we are not. Gosh, what a relief. Can we rest now? Can we just open our hands and except your grace? You’ve got this, right? You’ve got my life and my kids and my marriage and my friendships and my health and my life’s work and my needs…you have this, right? It’s okay if I’m not perfect? Lord, help me today to accept my limitations as an invitation to draw near to you.  Help me to say YES to you so I can taste the Freedom that comes from laying this heavy burden of perfection down. Set me free. Please Lord, set me free.”

Amen.

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10(MSG)

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

 
©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

Oh my gosh…that’s hilarious.

You know what bugs me?

When you are with people and you say something really funny and someone says with a very serious, pursed lips, church lady voice…”Oh my gosh…that is hilarious.”

If it was hilarious, you wouldn’t say it was hilarious, you would just laugh.  Actually, hilarity calls for doubled over, can’t breathe, snot through the nose, snorting.

Now I realize it’s tough to get to that level of humor and I don’t fancy myself that funny but a can I get a chuckle?

I think some people are afraid to laugh.

No really.

Some are afraid because they think they might pee their pants. This is a very real concern after 40. I mean, it’s funny in junior high when you are stuck in corner of the bouncy house and can’t get out and can’t. stop. laughing. but peeing your pants after a certain age could possibly be looked down upon.  I get that.

Others might be afraid that laughter is too silly for them.  They are serious Jesus people. It’s not proper.  They are too old for that kind of silliness.

Respectfully, I disagree.

I am super excited and grateful to be on the launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book, “For The Love”. I can’t say much about it because it’s not out until August and it’s TOP SECRET…but it has reminded me how laughter is so good for the soul. She is laugh out loud funny and also so in love with Jesus and spreading the Good News. She’s my people. And the other people on the launch team are my people too. We have a Facebook page for the group and let’s just say…hilarity ensues.  (See how lame that looks with the sad little period. Picture me doubled over in laughter and snorting.)

The other day I was getting a pedicure and I was reading her book and I was literally cry- laughing out loud. I kept pulling my foot out away and doubling over in my chair.  Then in the next minute or two I was weeping- crying soulful, straight from the heart tears. Literally, back and forth on the emotions. The laughing and crying just seemed to merge… into me, my life, what I feel, what I know to be be God’s love…it’s both.  It makes you laugh and cry.  There is no doubt everyone in the salon was worried about me.  Nobody said anything which means they were afraid of me. Just ignore her, they were thinking…she will be out of here soon.  Don’t. Rock. The. Boat. She. Is. Nuts.

My favorite image of Jesus is this one:

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I pretend that He is laughing at my jokes.

It’s a card that I keep in my Bible.  On the back it says, “Smile, God Loves You.”

Because why wouldn’t we smile? The fact that He loves me is good, good news.  It’s great news! It’s the best news there is!

When we receive His gift of grace, when we feel His love and taste the freedom that comes from it…we find joy.

Joy is our birthright.

We don’t need to pretend to be pious and always dignified and serious and somber.

Of course, we don’t need to pretend to think something is funny, either.

No more pretending.

I love to laugh and sometimes I pee my pants doing it.

Amen.

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©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved