Be Still Challenge

This challenge is designed to help your intention at the start of the year and to get into a routine each day by spending time in prayer and on your mat.

Each day of the month will have a NEW meditation and we invite you to participate each day starting on January 1st.

Week 1 – Day / Meditation / Posture

Day 1 / Be Still / Perfect Pose (Siddhasana)

Michelle Thielen, YogaFaith

Meditation:

Be Still and Know that I am God and the subject of Meditation, our 31-day journey.
Posture: Perfect Pose (Siddhasana)

“Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 (NLT)

The definition of meditation is continued or extended thought, reflection, contemplation, devout religious contemplation, or spiritual introspection. Encyclopedia Britannica describes meditation as a private religious devotion or mental exercise in which techniques of concentration and contemplation are used to reach a heightened level of spiritual awareness. The purpose of meditation is to ponder, create inner peace, and calmness, and connect with Christ.

As followers of Christ, we know meditation is found throughout the Bible and is just as important as praying, fasting, tithing, or any other act of worship to Him. The enemy has [even] attempted to turn the word meditation into something dark. But scripture repeatedly tells us to meditate, or deeply ponder, the things of God.

Meditation can be difficult to begin, but it is important and transformational. The devil roams and seeks our soul and I can tell you He never wants you to find time and space for your Savior. Knowing scriptures and the profound truth of meditation, will draw you closer to the heart of God and change you from the inside out.

To start: Begin to find quiet time to focus. Perhaps simply focus on your breath at first. Close your eyes, then begin to come into meditation, dwelling, deeply contemplating, setting your heart and intention on the Lord.

In whatever we do, it is all about our intention. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. 
Psalm 104:34

If our mind is stayed on Him and we have the peace that passes all understanding, then we will be free from worries and able to experience true happiness. However, if we don’t spend time with God and our minds are not peaceful, it is difficult to live a happy or abundant life as He wants us to do.

This is what the Be Still Challenge is all about. It’s not just another “challenge.” It is defined as a challenge because it is difficult to be still and find time with our Maker. This is the most important thing you can do as a Christian…hear from God. He speaks in a still small voice; He always has, and I believe always will. Will you create time to hear this still small voice? Not just in the next 31 days, but forever.

Let’s create a habit that surpasses just this month. You, your family, home, community, and the world around you will thank you for doing this! The more you meditate, the closer you become to God. The closer you are to Him, the more you get to know Him, which translates into knowing His promises and His plans for your life. You will have more peace and joy just by being in His presence, which will flow into every other area of your life. This does not mean that you will have an absence of chaos, but you will know the One who can get you through the chaos.

When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation. Proverbs 10:25

Day 2 / Light / Supported Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Kathleen Kolze, YogaFaith Trainer

Meditation:

Light
Posture: Supported Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
I ask you to breathe and relax. To focus on Christ. He is the Light of the World. He is the light in you. To prepare yourself, settle into a place where you feel lightness in your body. May I suggest laying down on your back in a heart opening position; maybe put a blanket or other prop beneath your spine to open your heart as you lay on the ground or on your yoga mat. Settle in. Breathe calmly as you consider Christ. You might know the song with the words ‘In Him there is no darkness at all’. This is a model for all of us.

Now gently place your hands down on the ground or mat with the palms down. As you breathe in this position, release all those thoughts of darkness inside of you. Breathe as you release out the worries in your life; the sins that haunt you; the anxiety you carry. I will pause for a few moments as you clear your mind of these dark thoughts. (pause)

Now, gently turn over your hands so that your palms are up. This is an open position. Open to Christ, the Light of the world. Breathe in the Light of Christ, His strength, His forgiveness. Replace all that was in you with His Light. Again, I will pause briefly. (pause)

Jesus is the Light of the World; you are His beloved child. Replace the darkness with His Light. Before I leave you to meditate on His Light in you, I want to read from Luke 11:35-36. “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”

Consider Christ’s light in you all the time. In Him there is no darkness at all. Breathe in Him, the Light of the world.

Day 3 / Love / Standing Backbend (Anuvittasana)

Andrea Larson, YogaFaith Trainer

Meditation:

“We love Him because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Posture: Standing Backbend (Anuvittasana)

Being still in the beauty of His unwavering love can be a challenge for those who do not know or comprehend His heart for us, His children. Life experiences has tainted many people’s views of who He is and His intentions. But when one’s eyes and heart are open to His love, one cannot help but to respond and love Him in return. His love for you is beyond compare, and no earthly mortal would dare come close. We can’t earn His love, even though some try with vain attempts through works. We don’t deserve His love. We can only receive His love.

When creation was formed, man was His masterpiece. He gave man life by breathing His spirit into his being. This breath is our life force (pranayama). He gave man free will in order that he may choose to love in return. Man fell in the garden by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Death was the punishment (Gen 2:17), but He made a way by providing the first sacrifice (Gen 3:21). Centuries would pass before the sacrifice that would end all sacrifice enter into the world in the form of a seed conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a young girl. This child, Jesus, Emmanuel (God with us) was born that He may die. His purpose was to restore the right relationship between creation and The Creator. Humbling Himself on the cursed tree, He took the weight of all mankind’s sin (past, present, and future) upon His shoulders.

The Father had to forsake Jesus and turn His back towards Him so that He may turn His face towards us. That was the only moment in time where you read about Jesus crying out. He didn’t want to leave the Father’s presence, but He saw the joy before Him and endured the separation (Heb 12:2), the agony, and the pain. That “joy” was you and me.

Wherever you are at in your relationship with Jesus, know that He loves you more than His own life. If you have been trying to somehow earn His acceptance and love, I pray that the veil is removed from your eyes. He accepts you and loves you right where you are at, no matter how flawed you perceive yourself to be. Even in your failures, you are holy and righteous (in right standing with the Father) simply because you accepted the free gift of salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus (Eph 2:8) .

Thank you, Father, for your unconditional love. It is far beyond our comprehension. When man was unworthy and sinful, You still chose to die for us. Help us to grasp the vastness of your love that we may love You more and in turn love ourselves and others. You are beautiful, wonderful and altogether worthy of all our praise.

Day 4 / Sabbath Rest / Corpse Pose Variation | Resting Angel (Savasana)

Michelle Thielen

Meditation:

Psalm 62 | Sabbath Rest

Posture: Corpse Pose Variation | Resting Angel (Savasana)

Sabbath, derived from the verb Sabat, meaning to stop, to cease, it is typically observed Friday sundown to Saturday sun-up for Jewish people while most Christians practice the Sabbath on Sunday. It truly doesn’t matter what day you practice the Sabbath, as long as you observe a day of rest. Can you stop? Can you cease? Jesus did, not because he was tired, but because the work was complete and to give you and I an example we should follow. To work, labor, gather and then rest.

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress; I will never be shaken. How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down—this leaning wall, this tottering fence? Surely, they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress; I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God He is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them. One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.” (NIV Version)

Day 5 / His Strength ~ Not Mine / Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I )

Michelle Thielen

Meditation:

His Strength ~ Not Mine
Posture: Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I )

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-18 AKJ

Scripture reveals that God’s strength is perfected in our weakness. (2 Cor.12:9) Would you take a moment and let that settle into your bones and spirit? If we are operating in our own strength, in all reality, this is not strength at all. We are [actually] operating in complete weakness without the Lord’s help. Our flesh is weak, it always has been and always will be. Relying on God’s strength is a throughout-the-day kind of renewal. The fact is, we are always weak.

I want you to grasp that in your weakness, which is everyday-all day long, His strength is perfected! This is such an amazing and powerful truth. Because of this truth, we can always stand firm in His strength, which translates; we are never weak! Hallelujah!  Is this mind blowing or what?

When was the last time you felt weak, weary, or flat out exhausted? Chances are it wasn’t that long ago or maybe it is right now. The good news is, your Father, the Creator of the Universe, and galaxies, you know the One who created you and knows you intimately, He is all powerful and never runs out of strength. He never runs out of strength!

Today, I encourage you to draw on His strength. Exhale your weaknesses and inhale His might.

I simply love, love, love The Message version of what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. “I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what He in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Did you catch this? “The weaker I get… the stronger I become”. Wow! Paul is saying that God’s grace and His strength is all you (ever) need. You do not need to worry about anything, including your weaknesses or handicaps. Isaiah predates Paul’s passage in Isaiah 40:31, which The Message also translates so eloquently. Meditate on this beautiful passage as it correlates to your strength as well as strong, standing yoga postures.

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, (replace your name here) or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me?” Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s the Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath. And He knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

Do not dare let the enemy of this world steal your energy or your strength for one more second! Your Father waits for you to call upon Him, to need Him, and to prove His power in your life! Perhaps you feel weak right now. So weak that you don’t feel like writing these few lines down…”Me, operating in Him, is strong”, but you should, then post where you see every day.

“He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath…He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength…”

Remember this as you come into your strong Warrior I, use modifications such as a chair or place your back foot against a block that rests on the base of the wall. His strength takes over your weakness!

Remember Modifications:
Or go deeper: Practice Humble Warrior

Day 6 / Exhaling Ego / Humble Warrior (Baddha Virabhadrasanaf)

Michelle Thielen, YogaFaith

Meditation:

Exhaling Ego

Posture: Humble Warrior (Baddha Virabhadrasanaf)

Philippians 2:1-18 New International Version (NIV) Imitating Christ’s Humility Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Do Everything Without Grumbling Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Did you catch this? “The weaker I get… the stronger I become”. Wow! Paul is saying that God’s grace and His strength is all you (ever) need. You do not need to worry about anything, including your weaknesses or handicaps. Isaiah predates Paul’s passage in Isaiah 40:31, which The Message also translates so eloquently. Meditate on this beautiful passage as it correlates to your strength as well as strong, standing yoga postures.

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, (replace your name here) or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me?” Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s the Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath. And He knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

Do not dare let the enemy of this world steal your energy or your strength for one more second! Your Father waits for you to call upon Him, to need Him, and to prove His power in your life! Perhaps you feel weak right now. So weak that you don’t feel like writing these few lines down…”Me, operating in Him, is strong”, but you should, then post where you see every day.

“He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath…He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength…”

Remember this as you come into your strong Warrior I, use modifications such as a chair or place your back foot against a block that rests on the base of the wall. His strength takes over your weakness!

Remember Modifications:
Or go deeper: Practice Humble Warrior

Day 7 / Balance / Eagle (Garudasana)

Michelle Thielen, YogaFaith

Meditation:

Balance

Posture: Eagle (Garudasana)

If you ever feel overwhelmed, just ask your Father what might need to be cut out of your life. Ask Him, He will speak to your heart, but first you have to get still, be quiet, and simply ask. Unless you are quiet, you will not be able to hear Him when He does speak.

In everything under the sun, there is a season (Ecc. 3:1-8).

Trust Him that His will shall come to pass in your life and there is nothing you can do to speed it up or diminish it! Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ. Phil 1:6 Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour (I Peter 5:8 AMP).

It is so easy to become unbalanced. Our bank account can suffer if we are not financially balanced or keeping track in this area. Over shopping, or obsessively pinching pennies, both will cause undue stress and frustration. Our physical bodies may be exhausted because we are not balanced in taking care of ourselves. We can error on the side of too much exercise, or no exercise at all, neither are healthy. We may spend too much time with our children and not enough time with our husband, being unbalanced in this area can place pressure and frustration on all of these relationships. Too much time working, and not enough time resting will affect every area of your life.

Most of our lives are spent being extremely unbalanced and off kilter, and this is exactly how the enemy would want us to remain. Busy. When we get so unbalanced, the enemy sneaks in an open door where we are not paying too much attention. We can be so focused on certain things that we lose sight of other things, which is why it is important to remain balanced.

Remaining balanced requires maintenance and rechecking your activities and priorities often. Balance means to keep things in a harmonious arrangement or as Webster defines it, a state of ‘just proportion’. Seek to be balanced and maintain this balance in every area of your life. Just like a vehicle, checkup and maintenance is required and vital.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, today I simply praise you forgiving me wisdom to create space for You, my family and other valuable things in my life. Help me to never lose sight of how important it is to create time and space for all of these things. I want every relationship in my life to honor You, my marriage [or future marriage], my children, every friendship I have, I want them to thrive and glorify You, and the work of my hands to magnify your greatness. I am never more fulfilled than when I am a servant. Show me where I can serve You and Your people. I know that when I fill my day with serving the funniest thing happens-I have all kinds of crazy time on my hands! Help me to enjoy my life and my many blessings. Guide me to be a blessing to others and stop taking everything so serious.You are light, joy and peace. Thank you for a balanced life in You. Amen and Amen! 

Remember Modifications (see image or Stretching Your Faith):

Practice Eagle Arms only or gently hug yourself while standing in Eagle. Or go deeper: Practice Sleeping Eagle, hollow out the belly, bring the elbows down to meet the knees and gaze at the crease of the elbows.

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