It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.- Galatians 5:1
This week, we are celebrating Independence Day in Mexico. Actually, it is the celebration of the initiation of the War of Independence, which began in the wee hours of September 16, 1810 with the Grito de la Independencia – the cry of freedom. The whole country dresses up in the colors of the flag: white, red and green. The colors were chosen for their significance: Red – unity of the people, White – purity of the Catholic faith and Green – independence. Later, president Benito Juarez (aka the Mexican Abraham Lincoln) changed the significance of the colors: White – unity, Green – hope, Red – the blood of the heroes who gave their lives for the country’s independence. (more on Mexican History by Taco)
In the year 2010, Mexico celebrated the bicentennial celebration of the war of Independence, and the centennial celebration of the Revolutionary war. The festivities included special routes across the country, highlighting points of interest of the War of Independence and the Revolution – Rutas de la Independencia, and Rutas de la Revolucion, respectively. That year, Mom, my friend Esperanza and I and had ventured to the state of Guanajuato – following the ‘Ruta de la Independencia, where the Independence movement began. (see excerpt ‘Viva la Independencia..’ from Taco’s Adventures with Ma)
The hotel we stayed at in the lovely town of Guanajuato had a rooftop you could go out on; I woke up early to work on my routine, on a beautiful, refreshingly crisp morning. The picturesque town around me was the perfect setting for visual focus. At the time, I was studying for my WholyFit Silver Certification, and focusing on the posture ‘Overcomer’. As I focused on that particular pose, I reflected upon what I had overcome to get to that point in my life – while the statue of El Pipila looked down upon me and the town, holding his torch up and carrying his boulder strapped to his back.
He, too had been an Overcomer. He was a martyr for the battle for independence against Spain, overcoming a great physical obstacle with his strength and determination – giving his life for his people who were uprising against oppression and injustice. I do not know if he was a man of faith – but I have been to the Alhondiga – the building where he gave his life – and saw the immense obstacle he had to overcome, and I have to believe that he did have faith, and that was what carried him – and the enormous boulder lit with tar and fire on his back – to victory. I won’t get into the nasty bloodshed that followed – after all, I am a pacifist – but I certainly side with revolting against evil.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21
Fortunately, my spot on the rooftop did not face the Alhondiga to bring to mind the bloody battle; instead my view was of the colorful rooftops and the towering mountains behind them, reminding me of God’s creativity, and I was able to focus on my posture:
Getting into a lunge position, I pictured myself lunging forward in the battle, like a warrior. I will overcome! Next was my core – focus on activating it to help my posture and keep me stable (always stand firm!) as well as protect my lower back (one could say I got my own back!). All set; my core was engaged with strength.
She girds herself with strength… – Psalm 31:17a
I checked my stance – I made sure it was wide for good balance with feet planted firmly– no enemy can knock this warrior down! As any good warrior should do, I assessed my alignment – working through it a few times to get it right: front knee directly over my ankle I don’t want to leave my ankle weak! Back leg: straight, bearing weight, muscular energy focus; rear foot pointing to the side – a firm foundation. knees and toes pointing in the same direction – fully aligned!
So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10b
I checked my squareness (not a tag I would normally put on myself!): hips and shoulders square to the front, confirming my firm foundation and focus. Oh yes – almost forgot – need to remember to check that my neck is aligned with my back so that my head wouldn’t pop off. Check! Arms… held up as if making a V for Victory, straight with muscular energy, shoulders down and held in front of my visual field…
And makes her arms strong. – Psalm 31:17b
Finally, focus on breathing… Inhale…
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Hallelujah! – Psalm 150:6
… And focus on what it means to be an overcomer.
I am writing to you, young people, because you have overcome the evil one. – 1 John 2:13b
Independence, revolution – two words that constantly echo across the globe, in every country for various reasons, and within our own lives. I feel we are in a battle to become independent from many things, including being physically ‘unfit’, and we are constantly in a revolution against the enemy in his many forms. We fight to overcome dependence in many ways – whether it be dependence on things, people or a weakness within ourselves, such as fear. Above all, we fight to overcome evil – the enemy – often without even remembering that battle has already been won.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. – 1 John 5:4
We live in a world filled with anger, hate, violence and injustice. It does not matter what country you live it – it is there. Some seem to have evil more prominent than others – but it is still everywhere, just in different forms. We need to remember to stand firm, gird ourselves with strength, overcome evil with good, be strong in our faith, and be victorious overcomers.
After all, He came, he saw, He conquered and overcame evil. He paved the path for us to do the same; we just have to follow Him.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. – Luke 4:18-19