A plethora of muscle and tissue damage led to months of physical therapy a few years ago. Finally released from the grueling three-day-a-week PT schedule, my physical therapist grinned with such joy as she sent me on my way. Little did I know what was in that folder full of exercises to continue at home. 

The plank had looked so simple when my physical therapist demonstrated it. Sure, I can stack my shoulders over my elbows, hold my body in one straight line, then stay suspended from toes to my elbows for thirty seconds. I mean, how hard can that be?

As it turned out, hard, hard, hard. It’s a deceptively easy looking move designed to tone my whole body by working my abs, arms, back, and a gazillion other muscles I didn’t even know existed. Thirty seconds (or less!) causes my heart to get a workout, makes my body shake, fires muscles up, and requires total concentration. It develops strength and endurance. Such core strength is vital, it turns out, for it makes everything stay well-aligned and well-balanced.

Yet, even knowing how crucial core strength it is to my aging body, I find this is one exercise I resist the most often. It’s also the one exercise I benefit from the most quickly. 

Pondering the plank as an exercise for core strength, I began to wonder what my heart’s core strength exercise might be. Is it how long I pray? How much Scripture I memorize? How still and quiet I become? How often I fast or celebrate or study or serve others? 

Worship stands as my heart’s core strength. 

However, worship can be the core heart exercise I skip right past. Yet it is the one I most quickly benefit from. That’s not to say I enter worship just for its benefits to me, yet the reality is that worship is absolutely vital to my being heart-aligned and heart-balanced. 

Worship is the place I build an altar to the Lord and call on His Name alone. 

It’s the place that I sit with my Beloved and adore Him.  

As I worship, I let go of the rush and enter the hush. 

I let go of the “I” and enter the “I AM.” 

I see His heart. 

I recall His touch.

I hear His voice. 

I inhale His beauty.

I taste His goodness. 

Worship reconnects my core to the core of the One Who matters: The Holy Three-in-One. It’s the place I shut out all else except the aligning of my heart with His heart. 

Much like the plank, it touches spiritual places within me I didn’t even know existed. 

Worship changes me within. 

It shows quickly what else has crept onto the altar of my adoration rather than the One Alone I am to adore. It prepares me to leave the familiar for the unknown. It secures me for the hardships that will surely keep coming my way. 

If I’m wise, worship is the repetition of my heart, the place I return to praise, adore, thank, bow down. 

For I find that in so entering His presence, my core is set afire for His glory.   

I imagine the years ahead will be full of core training, of one kind or another. How about you?

Featured images are courtesy of Minna Hamalainen, Aaron Burden, and Jace & Afsoon on Unsplash.

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