Soften and Deepen

Have you ever thought about the tension between "letting go and letting God" and "fighting the good fight"? I've been reading Deuteronomy where God promises to do battle for His people. He promises to give them the promised land, but then He says "go in and take possession."  Some action is necessary on their part.

Deuteronomy 1:8 says, "See I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers . . ." And Exodus 14:14, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

When do we act? When do we let God act on our behalf? What is His role? What is our role? These are questions I have come back to many times in my life. Perhaps you struggle with this as well. Does it have to be one or the other or can both be present in our life?

When I was pondering these questions, I heard a phrase I often say when teaching my classes: 

Ask yourself where you need to deepen and where you need to soften. 

Warrior 2 Pose

Warrior 2 Pose

I think of this phrase most often when I'm in Warrior 2 (see photo).  In my Warrior 2 I want a deep and wide foundation. I can deepen this foundation and the strength of this pose if I spiral my inner thighs out, lower my front leg, working towards getting that thigh parallel with the earth. I feel my leg muscles beginning to fire up and I know there is power in this pose. Can I stay present and be in that place of deepening? But what about my shoulders? They are starting to hike up near my ears because I’m focusing on the strength of the pose and my legs. I can soften my shoulders, lower them back down, but keep the energy flowing through those fingertips. I can soften my jaw with a big exhale, perhaps even an audible exhale. Now I’m beginning to see the tension between the deepening and the softening. Both are working together in perfect harmony to bring about a fiery and yet beautiful pose. 

I’m exploring the concept of keeping this tension between deepening and softening in my relationship with God. He challenges me to deepen, to step up, to obey, to rise to a challenge. He wants to make me a strong warrior who trusts Him to lead me into future challenges. 

But at the same time He reassures me to "Be still and know that I am God" and soften. I often hear God say, "give yourself some grace."  I need to soften my attitude and deepen my commitment. I know God fights for me. But He also expects me to act upon His Word, to love those around me, to seek Him with all my heart, soul and mind. I obey. He acts. I run after Him. He runs to meet me. Like all meaningful and rich relationships, there is give and take. There are times to go deep and there are times to rest and receive. Just like the beautiful Warrior pose, both deepening and softening are necessary for a strong and growing walk with God.