There's an exercise I've been doing off and on over the pass few weeks as part of my physical therapy.  I'm sure it has some sort of technical name, but let's just call it the yoga ball pass.  You lay flat on the ground with a giant yoga ball between your feet, lift your legs (without bending them) straight up in the air, take the ball from between your feet and touch the ground behind your head with it (as you lower your legs, without bending them, to the ground), and then you reverse the exercise to pass the ball back between your feet and onto the ground again.  I'm supposed to be doing this 30 times a day.  (It's not happening yet.)

Here are the following things that can go horribly wrong while attempting this even just once:

  1. You can drop the ball on your face.
  2. You can fail to grasp the ball firmly enough between your feet, resulting in the ball (which can be very bouncy) escaping.
  3. You can fail to grasp the ball firmly enough between your hands, again resulting in the ball escaping.  (This is particularly bad if there are other people doing physical therapy on the floor anywhere near you, and/or if you are exercising in or near a hallway.  Tho I can see how being near stairs could be even worse.)
  4. You can lose count.
  5. You can forget to breathe while every muscle in your core is sending a message to your brain informing you that they do not want to be doing this exercise.  At all.  Ever.
But here's what's happening while all of this often awkward, painful, relatively amusing (to outside observers) activity is going on:

  1. You are strengthening your core muscles - the muscles that hold the rest of you up.
  2. You are teaching your core muscles better habits.
  3. You are burning calories you didn't really need anyway.
  4. You are developing perseverance and endurance.
  5. You providing yourself with fodder for a spiritual twist on a blogpost that could have just been a funny story about that one time at the chiropractor's office when you dropped the yoga ball on your head and it went bouncing down the hallway.

Who you are at your core matters.  So what is it you need to do to strengthen yourself?  What needs to go?  And what habits do you need to form?

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
- Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

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