In fourth grade I had the one teacher at Cooper’s Elementary School that struck fear in every child’s heart by mere mention of her name. I still shudder a bit and I was even a teacher’s pet of sorts (my theory was to keep friends close and enemies closer).
Unfortunately for the artist in me, her demand that we only color side to side and stay in the lines still haunts me every time I pick up a coloring book or try to paint. However, the good advice of keeping perfect posture somehow eluded me.
So it is that I find
a couple of decades few years later I am trying to correct a nasty habit — slouching.
In light of being compared to a tree trunk, it seemed only common sense to note that my painful back and neck are not helped by my lack of posture. So aside from crunches, planks and other hated exercises, I have become meticulously aware of the posture I keep and correcting it seems to be a full-time job. It’s one of those jobs you know will pay eventually, but you are almost certain you won’t see the check for much longer than you had hoped.
Below are just two of my observations from the past several days.
#1: What seems natural/most convenient isn’t always best.
My natural response is to rush from one place to another, head down, pushing along. It’s a posture killer and it doesn’t do wonders for self-confidence either. It’s just what seems natural, or what seems most convenient. Trying to walk with a more correct posture means I can’t walk as fast because I’m trying to teach my body all over again how to move in a proper manner.
In a world that is moving at break neck speed, we all struggle to keep up and often we give in to convenience because we are too exhausted for any other solution. Or we turn to our natural, sinful responses because walking as Jesus walked seems much too demanding.
How do I respond to that person in my life that pushes all my buttons and who, from my perspective, seems to look for opportunities to prove me wrong or make me look stupid? I guarantee you that both my natural response and the response that would be most convenient in that situation aren’t the best.
#2: Change requires discipline.
Constantly throughout the last several days I have caught myself slouching, shuffling along, giving into the posture I’ve known for so long. For one, my muscles simply aren’t accustomed to this new form and they tire quickly. They need to be strengthened through discipline, which frankly I stink at.
Habits that we have kept for years and years don’t just vanish overnight. It takes work. Hard work. It’s a process and sometimes it takes longer than we wish and sometimes it just plain hurts.
When it comes to a relationship with Christ, I find that to live by the teachings found in the Bible requires a lot of change that seems to grind against natural responses. Exercising the spiritual muscles that require “turning the other cheek,” for example, can be uncomfortable at best.
Sometimes my spiritual muscles cannot withstand the blows that come because they aren’t strong enough yet. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit and God’s grace and mercy to aid in our change, but we also have a responsibility to be disciplined until it becomes natural for us to live as Christ desires. Reading the Bible, praying, fasting, giving, etc are all spiritual disciplines that help posture us to allow God to form our lives as He wills.
Do you need to work on your posture (physical or spiritual)?
The posture we take has far reaching effects that we may not even be able to notice for years to come. Small measures of discipline consistently will lead to better posture and the benefits that brings in the future.