Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Spiritual WOD

Three to five times a week I engage in an intense physical fitness program, Crossfit. This program demands every ounce of mental and physical focus I possess. The 'Workouts of the Day' (WOD's) are usually not very long, 5-25 min long. Sometimes shorter sometimes longer. But each WOD is different; Constantly Varied, functional movements at very high intensity. The results have been dramatic; significant (healthy) weight loss, impressive strength gains and I have never felt more fit, healthy and happy before.

Interestingly however, over the last couple months my performances has declined. This decline can be directly and clearly traced back to my diet and sleeping habits. As I have become more fit it is immediately noticeable when I veer from my healthy habits. In the past I could go multiple nights on 4 hours sleep and carb load. I was in a state of maintaining my illness, with occasions of severe cold, flu or sinus infections. I no longer get sick or constantly fighting of a cold, flu or anticipating that yearly sinus infection.

My healthy habits are a JOY to follow, never boring or feeling like I am missing out. Yes I still enjoy my occasional apple fritter or other choice of 'poison'. But after a few bite I am completely satisfied. There is little or no desire to indulge beyond healthy portions. When I do, its because I allow habit to take over or compensate for a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation is an enemy to physical and emotional control. Caffeine and sugar are an artificial and immediate, but poor and dangerous compensator for sleep too.

But before I diverge to far from the point, I have found a few parallels in my fitness and spiritual journey with the scriptures.
  1. It has been much more effective to have sort meaningful scripture study, then long indulgent 'scholar' type readings. Or 'holiday fitness' approach, you know,the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas you go and try to burn off all the calories, approach to study. Fitness and scripture study don't work that way. Its the constant meaningful, joyful and personal sessions with the scriptures that works. Whether that means five minutes or fifty minutes.
  2. Like being healthy, I know immediately when I have neglected my meaningful scripture study. I long for it, crave it and find a way to incorporate it into my day. I feel and think clearly. However, if I neglect my studies to long one more day doesn't seem to matter. I find my avoidance behavior increasing. Also, like working out the longer I avoid my studies the more difficult it is to get back into it.
  3. I have found there are types of quick "fixes" for missing meaningful scripture study that I can become reliant on. Music, motivational talks, inspirational quotes and the quick one verse to make sure you get your good thought in for the day. Like Caffeine and sugar. Neither are bad, but if used as a substitute they are habit forming and dangerous.
There is no substitute for frequent meaningful scripture study. You can not 'make up' for lost scripture study and spiritual fitness. Make a plan, track your progress. Realize it WILL be difficult starting or restarting a new way of life. That's right a new life, be careful to not view your spiritual progress like some unfortunately do with healthy living. Don't go on a diet, make a life change. Make a spiritual change.