In a yoga class recently, my teacher invited us to “open to the possibilities.” I always get a little nervous when I get an invitation like this. It often means that you are going to be pushed way beyond your comfort zone. Being physically uncomfortable usually follows.
We stretched and moved into many familiar and some unfamiliar poses. We held these poses much longer than usual. As we grunted and groaned, our tired muscles stretched beyond our perceived limits. When holding poses for so long, you become aware that your mental mantra — “When is this going to be OVER?”– is not very helpful. Relaxing, breathing, opening to what might happen is actually the most helpful. If we let go of the “can’t-do attitude,” we often end up doing poses differently, better than we imagined. And, lo and behold, you are even a little more comfortable. You are aware of the positive energy around you: You notice the people joyfully struggling next to you; you gather energy from the room in order to say in another long pose; you open to the gentle direction and challenges of your teacher.
Those of us in the church know something about being in uncomfortable space. In many churches I visit, people are keenly aware of their aging population, worried that young people will never come back and the church doors will close. People worry that they won’t have enough money to pay a pastor or they won’t be able to attract any pastor to lead a small church.
I can almost feel us holding our breath and tightening up as we face these challenges. We close off, going back to doing things the way we have always done them. We deny ourselves the possibilities God may be laying in front of us. Challenges, even ones that seem insurmountable, are always an opportunity – an opportunity to stretch ourselves into something we never imagined. If we just relax a little, breathe and let go of our expectations, perhaps we can allow God to show us the way to something better than we ever thought we could be. Our God is a God of the impossible; a God of the resurrection. Let’s breathe a little and live as if we truly believe it.
Who knows what shape our churches and ministries could take?