Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Spiritual Muscles

Over the past 10 years I have been very consistent with my exercising. Every 3 or 4 days I spend an hour with my elliptical churning through mile after mile. Even though I never get anywhere, this virtual journey is one that I tend to look forward to for the most part. With a playlist of different songs set up on my music system, I let myself become part of the rhythm. I let it surround me and empty my mind of concerns and worries and anxiety. Both mental and physical health benefit as a result. On multiple occasions after a good exercise session has finished, answers to questions seem to bubble up to my mind and paths forward through issues that had plagued me are suddenly mapped out. However, back when I first started, I was only able to go for 10 minutes before my wheezing alerted me to stop.

Over the past several weeks I have augmented my time on the elliptical with swimming laps in my pool. After the first few sessions I was amazed at how few laps I could do. After a couple of up and backs my chest heaved and couldn't seem to draw in enough oxygen to satisfy. Yet I regularly spend an hour on my elliptical and my heart remains quiet and my breathing normal. Apparently swimming uses an entirely different set of muscles than does my elliptical work. It is also apparent that after many years of doing one sort of exercise, my body has become inured to the rigors and demands. Yet the moment I try something different, new aches and pains and, well, growth takes place.

For many years I have spent my devotional time in reading. I remember how fired up I used to get and how passionately I used to dive into these books. I used to take pages of notes and spend time considering carefully the discussion questions. Now, as I read I find that I stay relaxed. No pitter patter of my heart or my mind. Too often I do no more than glance at the discussion questions before I turn the page and move on. Perhaps it is time that I seek out a different approach to begin to tax a different set of spiritual muscles.