Most mornings before work find me at the gym taking an indoor cycling class. It’s a very tough aerobic workout which is why I like it. If I’m going to drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to exercise then I might as well make it worth my while and push myself.
Yet I don’t always push myself. Not that I intentionally slack off but no matter how hard I am breathing and sweating, if I don’t change something about the way I’m riding that day I won’t really progress. In fact I derive less benefit from the ride doing it the same way.
I have a teacher who emphasizes this. “Do one thing different about your ride every time,” he says. “It’s not enough to stay strong. You have to stay strong in different ways to maintain or even increase your fitness level.”
So each time I ride I try to attack a hill differently or modify my sprint segments so that my legs are screaming for mercy. Mind you, I don’t do the whole ride differently, just one or two parts of it.
I wonder if the exercise of the soul is like that. Faith is a habit and I am as susceptible of falling into a faith rut as I am an exercise rut. If I pray in the same way every day or look at the world through the same spiritual prism does my faith stand still?
Today is Monday, a good day to start new things. This week I’m going to work at my faith a little differently and find out. I’ll let you know.
Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.