Originally published in the Catholic Times, April 24, 2016
One of my tasks as a strength coach is to help people identify physically weak areas of their bodies and then put them on the path to strengthening those weaknesses.
For example, single-leg balance is often challenging, but important to practice as this is helpful in daily life. We work on mobilizing the foot and ankle, activating the muscles in the leg that is off the ground, rooting the foot supporting the body, and so on, to increase stability and strength for improved balance.
As long as there is no medical issue, and with patient practice and good technique, balance typically improves. Where there was once weakness, there is now strength that can be developed further with more repetitions or by adding weight to the movement.
Usually it’s more fun to work on movements we are already good at rather than addressing our weaknesses. That’s our human nature. But we’re only as strong as our weakest links. If we ignore our weak links, it can limit our development and even put us at risk for injury.
This is not unlike addressing weaknesses in our spiritual lives. Sometimes we are lucky enough to work with a spiritual director, who is a coach of sorts, to help identify, guide and strengthen us in those areas where we are weak, unsure or maybe even unaware that there is an issue in our spiritual lives.
Our spiritual weak links might be holding us back from a deeper relationship with Jesus and maybe even with our family and friends. It may make us hesitant to serve our Church, community, and those who are less fortunate than us. It may make us less open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives. We might miss the joy God desires for us.
We can ask God to show us how and where we can grow spiritually stronger. He may show us in surprising ways.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, waits patiently for us to ask, listen, and respond, each in our own way, to what He is calling us to do. We know that He loves us beyond measure, even with all of our weaknesses. Our most generous God can turn our weaknesses into strengths when we cooperate with His will.
Lord, grant me the humility to see where I am weak and help me to cooperate with your grace so that I can grow into the person you have created me to be. Amen.