Scripture tells us there is a time for everything, and it seems in life, there's always a time for shaking. Here's what I've learned from a recent season AND a recent barre3 class. 

If you’re a lady and you’ve ever taken a barre exercise class (guys, I have no idea what the male equivalent would be, but go with me here.) you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Embrace the shake.” 

It’s that moment when your muscles feel maxed, but your instructor tells you to hold.  They almost always say, “Embrace the shake. Shaking is where change happens.”

Last week I was in an incredible Barre3 class where my instructor expanded on the idea.  Ashley said to us, “Find that shake.  Find where you’re uncomfortable and stay there.” 

“How many of you have ever seen real change come from a situation where you were comfortable?”

It was only fifteen minutes into the class and we were doing a sort of hybrid plié/squat situation. My legs were shaking as if there were an earthquake. My brain screamed quit. Ashley said stay.  I fought for it. Tears welled up in my eyes from the truth she’d just spoken over us, and maybe a little bit from the shake in my quads and hamstrings.

You see, when I think about the last year and a half of my life, I’ve spent much of it truly uncomfortable.  I’ve spent whole months questioning whether God actually knew what he was doing.  (Similar to the way I question the authority of my exercise teachers when my muscles start to shake.)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
— James 1:2-3 NIV

I spent so many quiet moments asking God if I had gone wrong, or if his sovereign plan maybe wasn’t so sovereign.  Had we lost control?

The truth is, God was letting me shake so I would change.

When God let’s us get uncomfortable, we have one option, to seek our comfort in Him.  When our metaphorical faith muscles begin to shake, it’s prayer and worship that are breathing life back into them. 

The shaking is where change happens.

If you’ve ever taken an exercise class and prayed, and I really mean prayed, for that final 10 count because your legs are shaking so bad you think they may unhinge straight from your hips, you know the desperate feeling I’m explaining.

When I stopped questioning God, I began to ask him questions that would help me grow, remain obedient, and remain faithful.

“God what is your purpose for me here and how can I best fulfill it?”

“God, if this is where I am supposed to remain, will you show me where I can best experience you in this season?”

“God, how can I be like Jesus to the people I encounter while here?”

“God, when it is time for me to leave and be done with this, will you show me in a way that is undeniably from you so that I will know it’s not just me quitting?”

That last one though.

In my most recent season, there were always moments where I just wanted to quit.  Throw up my hands and say I’m out. 

For whatever reason, I could always find one – it’s too hard, I can’t handle it, I’m not qualified, I’m afraid … the list goes on and on.

I’ve quit my job, packed my car and played out the scenario in my head more times than I care to admit.  But the day God lead me to that moment was full of so much grace, so much freedom and so much joy that the relief didn’t even really register.  I knew it was there, but it didn’t matter so much. 

There are so many parallel experiences in life that show us this day in and day out.  We rise to the challenge and “embrace the shake” in plenty of circumstances in order to allow change to happen and “something better” to prevail.

I can think of a few off-hand:

-       Marriage counseling

-       Physical therapy

-       Grad school

-       Medical treatments

The hardest seasons in life tend to teach us the most. 

And for me, when I walk out of that barre class, shaky legged and sweaty, it’s not relief I feel, but power.  That soreness, that shakiness, it’s building muscle inside me. 

Sure for a few days I may walk a little funny, but the change is there, it’s taking root, and I will be stronger for it.

Xo. SW. 

Top photo sourced from Well and Good.