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Faith Imagined: Spiritual Plank

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

June 19, 2009

Spiritual Plank

I've usually understood spiritual growth in two forms: First, I've experienced growth when I make small or huge spiritual strides. This happens when I feel God teaching me, and I find myself changing attitudes and actions accordingly.

Second, I've experienced growth when God gives me rest. Though this may not seem like growth, it is an important part of the process. This happens when God allows me peace in order to rest after a spiritual growth spurt or right before one is about to occur.

What is new to me -- because I just noticed it -- is what I'm calling the "spiritual plank."

Today I worked with a personal trainer at the gym (I just had third baby and I'm trying to get back into shape). I was not in the mood to work out at all. But she pushed me like normal, and I obediently did what she said without my usual enthusiasm and energy. At the end of my session, she had me do the plank. I hate the plank.

The plank is when you get on your forearms and toes, flatten the length of your body, and hold this position for a short amount of time. In my case, I had to hold it for one minute. I was miserable. I would rather be doing crunches, squats, push ups or anything else that makes me move. Better yet, I would rather be resting on my mat.

Instead, I was holding the plank position and my entire body was shaking. I don't think there was a single muscle that was not straining to hold that position. Thankfully, the minute ended and I collapsed on my mat. But what I realized later that day is that I'm currently in spiritual plank.

I don't feel like I'm making any spiritual strides at the moment, but I don't feel like I'm in spiritual peace either. I feel like I'm in a holding position.

I still feel close to God, but I don't feel like I'm experiencing any wowing revelations. I'm not upset with the world or my life, but I'm not feeling all that amazed at the moment (though, I must admit, I have tons to be thankful for).

I just feel like I'm waiting and counting the days until God says, "Time," and allows me to collapse or He says, "Get up," and He puts me to work. It kind of feels like something is just around the corner, and God is stabilizing me and strengthening the core of who I am.

At least the cool thing is that normally I would get all emotional doing the spiritual plank. I would sense this time of readiness and not trust God. I would complain to Him that the spiritual plank stinks and would continually ask Him when it would be over.

However, I won't allow myself to fear and complain this time. I'm not a little kid anymore. I can handle a little pressure, a little waiting and a little work-out from the Father. He's my personal spiritual trainer, and I trust that He will only push me to my breaking point . . . and that is both a comforting and thrilling thought.

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Blogger crissy #1 mommy said...

I love this post! It helps me understand the different seasons that God has us go through! Thanks for the insight!!!

3:01 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

All I can say is...WOW! Thank you so much for visiting my blog so I would find this post from yours...this spiritual plank is exactly what I am experiencing, but I never gave it a name. This is just what I needed to read tonight....

I will return later to read more posts....

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Shelby said...

I am SO GLAD you visited my blog because I have been BLESSED by finding yours.

Your blog itself is beautiful and restful. I've followed you because I think I don't want to miss anything you have to say!

Your post gives me much food for thought. I like the idea of the plank. I'm just coming off of one, still sort of teetering on the edge between the plank and a big leap toward Him, and you really gave me some valuable insights and understanding!

8:36 PM  
Blogger 3 Blessings said...

Your descriptions are so right are an amazing writer. I always enjoy your new posts.

Have a blessed weekend.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Beautiful insight to the ways of the Lord........ I am always amazed when HE teaches us lessons from the most un-lesson happenings in our lives. Thanks for sharing! Great lesson in faith in progress.....

9:51 PM  
Blogger Jenilee said...

What a great picture of our relationship and walk with God! Thanks for visiting awake! I've enjoyed my visit to your blog! :)

10:10 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

I love the imagery in this is so true! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I will have to come back later and look around...I love your blog!

10:14 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Miles said...

Hi Alisa,

Thank you for coming to visit my blog - and I'm glad I tracked you back here. I've often felt just as you say, both physically and spiritually. I feel that the Lord rewards us when we are obedient at these very times. Most people simply give up, missing the blessings - the Lord never told us we would not suffer for HIS cause, rather HE shows over and over in the bible that he meets people exactly at that spot.

I'm going to enjoy reading your blog further - though it might not be till after my vacation LOL!

☻ Barb

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sense that holding pattern too, Alisa. The imagery and definitive words you provided us draws a clear picture. We are all in this place at some time but usually don't want to stay long or at all... trying to do things on our own or in our own time in order to escape the plank. Thanks, ~ linda

ps...thanks for visiting and encouraging me today too!

10:33 AM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Interesting way you've compared the physical to the spiritual.
Have a great week and come back to visit any time.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Ohilda said...

This was a great post! Something that I really needed to hear today.

Thank you for sharing!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Falling Around said...

I'm currently working the spiritual plank, but didn't even realize it until I read your post just now... amazing.

Thanks for being the mouthpiece through which God has spoken to me today.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Mrs.Zeus said...

I think I am always on spiritual plank if so... heehhe

Thank you for this post, It definitely made me think/reflect about things that I am currently pushing for but not really happening.

Come play Monday matters at

3:39 PM  
Blogger OceanDreams said...

Aww, thanks for the WOW and WOW. He he. I did have a great time and thanks for checking out my pics! I feel like I am on a spiritual plank myself and it's hard to figure out exactly what to do to get out of the slump. Sometimes I feel like I analyze too much and maybe God just wants me to bask in His glory and take one day at a time. As long as I am coming to Him and yearning to learn more, that is what matters. That's great that you realize this and that you can go to your personal trainer anytime! Love your new blog layout, by the way, it looks great!

5:21 PM  
Blogger Racquel Simone said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! This is a wonderful post for me, as I am on a weight-loss journey and it is teaching me naturally & spiritually!

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Leslie, the cleaning coach said...

A perfect thing for me to read this morning. After coming back from a walk/run and feeling disappointed that I couldn't go further, I just heard I'm suppose to stop and get into the "plank" position. It will probably do more for me that a 5 mile run!

8:42 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Alisa--love your blog! Thanks for visiting mine...I'm off to follow yours!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Amy Storms said...

Hi, Alisa-
Great thoughts here! Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for your kind words. I appreciate it!


12:39 PM  
Blogger Farmgirl Paints said...

It's both scary and exciting waiting for God to move in your life. Because in some form or another it's usually a little least that's my experience. Hope a new season is coming for you.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope to see you again soon:)

1:59 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Some great thoughts here, and the word picture really grabbed me.

The plank is one of my most disliked exercises too, but the results can be a really strong core (both physically and spiritually)!

3:06 PM  
Blogger Darcel said...

Stopping by from SITS! Love your blog. I want to come back and read more later

4:23 PM  
Blogger Cami said...

I doubt the true spirituality of any Christian right now if they feel as if they are actually accomplishing something; we are living in a time of "being on hold" - the world is not ready to hear our message. There is a building going on, but it is in the unseen. Those of us who really love the Lord must love Him, not the idea of "usefulness," which is not what it seems. A truly devoted heart knows this. Waiting for Him, and Him alone - this is the way of discipleship.

God bless you, Alisa!

6:54 AM  
Blogger Lora said...

As a yogi and a woman of faith I really enjoyed this--what a beautifully written post!
Thank you...I'll be back!

2:35 PM  

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