Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Falling Off the Stability Ball
Like many other thirty-something moms, I am ever on the quest for firmer abs. My newest addition to my fitness equipment is an apparatus that has become increasingly popular on all the fitness shows. It is called a “stability ball”.
Much to the chagrin of my children, who wondered what this huge (72-inch in circumference) hot pink ball was doing on my bedroom, the ball is not for kicking or throwing. There are videos with very specific techniques in which one balances on the ball to increase the effectiveness of the exercises.
If you have ever seen this ball being used in info-mercials, let me tell you that it is much harder than it looks! The supple athletes on the show seem to effortless balance, doing the exercises with no strain and a smile on their faces. It is quite another scene in my living room.
Kids in school and toddler in bed, I bring my stability ball downstairs and turn on the video. First I’m supposed to sit on the ball and do sit-ups. This is definitely not what I thought it would be like. The ball keeps rolling from side to side. I wonder if I have filled it properly. Will it burst when I am finally able to sit on it? At long last, I am able to perform the sit-up properly and realize: this is really hard work!
Next the instructor is lying sideways, leaning casually against the ball as she does obliques. The ball gets away from me. The dog, stretch out on the couch, opens her eyes and looks at the ball, then me. She thinks I want to play. “Don’t you know I’m too old for this? I just want to nap,” she tells me with her eyes, then closes them again.
The final move defies logic. She is standing on her head, rear-end in the air, with her feet on the ball. “How bad do I really want this?” I ask myself. I feel the pouch of baby fat in my lower abdomen. “Bad enough to try.” I modify the move into something realistic.
The cool-down is delicious. I think about the stability ball and how it is much like the life I have chosen. We have been living on one income for most of our marriage, and my husband is self-employed. Financial instability is how we are used to living – but I count myself lucky. In the good weeks we save, and when a major appliance breaks on a bad week, we have no need to panic.
Others, who have thought themselves to be secure in a good job, suddenly find themselves unemployed and don’t know what to do. Their stability ball has burst underneath them. We have relied on self-discipline to keep our way of life; they have it suddenly forced upon them. No one’s life is completely secure, but we knew it all along. In the long run, I think our way is less stressful.
All of us need Christ to keep us in balance. As the economy falls around us, affecting more of the people we know, depleting the food pantries in our churches, we reach toward each other more, both giving and receiving. We turn to God more often, both in supplication and in thanksgiving. Let us never forget that we never have to go it alone.
“Why do you glory in your strength,
your ebbing strength, rebellious daughter?
You who trust in your treasures, saying,
‘Who can come against me?’”