A recent flyer from the YMCA read “Build a strong core.” They were offering training designed to strengthen the body’s trunk muscles in order to provide power, protection, and flexibility when engaging in other activities, sports, and training.
There seems to be a parallel between the wisdom of strengthening one’s physical core and tending to one’s spiritual core. If you strengthen the core, the rest of your body—or soul—will be strengthened as well. But just as many people resist the YMCA’s invitation to join their new class, many resist taking steps to strengthen their spiritual lives. According to Dr. Jane Regan, this resistance stems from the belief that taking these steps will entail adding yet one more task or program to an already jam-packed daily schedule.
Regan, renowned author and professor of religious education at Boston College, suggests that we imagine a wheel with many spokes radiating out from the hub. If you see yourself as the hub, with the demands of your life as the spokes radiating outward, then the invitation to work on your spirituality becomes one more spoke on an already crowded wheel.
But if you put God at the core, as the hub of your life, you’re not adding yet another spoke. Instead, your relationship with God flows through everything else you do every day, all day. How can you move God from being a peripheral spoke to the hub of your life? Here are a few suggestions that can help you strengthen your core relationship with God.
Start your day by offering it all to God.
Imagine all the spokes of your life—all the people, responsibilities, commitments, and interests that make up your day—and envision them all illuminated by the presence of God at your core.
Realize that God invites you to be a cocreator.
We humans are called upon to use our God-given creativity to help bring about God’s reign. In the Our Father we say “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.” This is our daily commitment to use our talents, our strengths, our imagination, our skills—everything we have, in fact—to serve the Kingdom of God.
Ask for God’s help with all the spokes of your life.
Try to see God’s action and God’s will in every commitment, interest, and responsibility that you have. This might include the spiritual practice of a daily “examen” in which you look to find the movement of God in your day and listen for what God might be calling you to next.
Enjoy the benefits of having a strong core.
With God at the hub of your life, you benefit from having power, protection, and agility for everything that you are called upon to do. You also have direction and guidance for the many decisions you face each day.