The Heart Rate Monitor

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The modern heart rate monitor is a wonderful tool. It can tell us how fast our heart is beating at any given moment.  This information can help us to get in the best physical condition of our life.   Knowing our heart rate allows us to monitor our level of physical exertion and this helps us to know if we are training and living in a healthy and wise way.

People normally wear a heart rate monitor when they are trying to get in shape, in order to engage in an athletic endeavor that requires cardio vascular exertion. What is really good about these monitors is that a person can set them to beep when they are below or above their ‘ideal’ training zone.  Therefore, if they train ‘in the zone’ they can make progress with out burning out.  There is another benefit that comes with being in ‘the zone’ for a decent amount of time.  The body starts to create endorphins and endorphins provide a natural high.  This endorphin ‘rush’ can help a person get out of bed and go for it, one more time!

The heart rate monitor, with all of its benefits, has made me wonder, is there a spiritual equivalent?  The Wesleyan believers would always ask one another; “How is it with your soul?”  The answer to that question might reflect the gauge on the Spiritual Heart Rate Monitor (SHRM).  As we try to understand our own SHRM it seems that we need to understand our own sense of joy and our own sense of inner peace.  Yet, these two indexes are very hard to read in the bright lights and noisy environment of our modern culture.  In order to read the index of joy and the index of peace we need to create pockets of silence & solitude.  Silence & solitude is antithetical to our culture and it can be quite unsettling.  Yet I believe, silence & solitude is the only place where we can get the answer to the question: “How is it with your soul?”  It is the only place where we can hear the beep of our personal SHRM and experience the natural high of being in step with Him.

Once we have entered into silence and solitude and we have encountered the question: “How is it with your soul?”, then we are ready to encounter more challenging questions.

The Transforming Center has created this questionnaire and it is quite helpful in helping us dissect and formulate our answers.

www.transformingcenter.org/in/transforming-resources/assessment.shtml.

As you look at your answers, what have you discovered about you and your heart?  How is He leading you to grow your heart and become the person He has designed you to be?  Developing a personal, dynamic, spiritual growth plan might be your most critical project, this day!  Go For It!

The Bumps in the Trail

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What Mountain Bikes can teach us about the Journey of Life

If there is anything I’ve learned living in the great outdoors of Breckenridge, Colorado, it is this: bicycles are fun! Now, you head to a bicycle mecca like Moab and you soon realize that mountain bikes are outrageously fun!

What makes these machines so much fun? You can take them anywhere and roll over most anything. The mountain bike releases the inner child! It puts a smile on anyone’s face.

A significant ingredient in this funfest is the bicycle’s front shock absorber. The front shock smooth’s out the terrain allowing the bike to swallow up obstacles in its path.  A good shock allows the rider to even set the dampening, which determines how quickly the fork absorbs the bumps. It also allows one to set how quickly the fork rebounds, or returns to normal after enduring a bump. These settings stabilize the front of the bicycle and keep the tire in contact with the earth. Contact with the earth allows us to steer a straight line.

It seems that all of us need the help of a good front shock absorber. We need the ability to dampen and absorb the irregularities and bumps of life.  We need the ability to rebound in a way that allows us to maintain control, perspective and traction as we steer through life.

God has given us community, hope, Himself and His word to act as our “front shock.” Life is bumpy; it is unpredictable and often jarring. But with the right shock, we can maintain control. We may still feel the bumps, but our course is not disrupted.

Victor Frankl, writing from a Nazi concentration camp, said, “everything could be taken from a person except their ability to choose how they will respond to the present moment.”

How we respond to this day will be dictated by the belief system we embrace. Our beliefs become the shock absorbers that allow us to navigate life and put a smile on our face.

This day, I would like you to test-drive the belief found in Romans 8: “Nothing can separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Have an awesome day! May you absorb, rebound and stay on the path.

In His Grip, 

Dick

The Art of Appreciation

“Give Thanks in All Circumstances!”

When was the last time that you encountered a person whose
life seemed to exude joy? Their countenance was joyful. The
lilt in their voice was joyful and the gleam in their eye was
joyful….and maybe, even a bit mischievous. Did you ask them
about the source of their joy? Often we miss that opportunity
to learn from the joyful sole that is next to us…but when we do
ask the question and look for the lesson, often we discover a
person who takes nothing for granted but in everything gives
thanks.
As I have reflected on the art of appreciation I have
started to see that truly appreciative people take nothing for
granted. People that take nothing for granted start to see
wonder in the mundane. They start to see that even the hot
water that flows from the spigot is a luxury and a delight. They
see that the air they breathe is a gift they are given and they
say thank you.
At some point in the journey of appreciation we start to
understand that the lack of appreciation robs us of joy and kills
relationship. When one is not appreciated, one is taken for
granted. It hurts to be taken for granted! Our lack of
appreciation is the very essence of taking some one or
something for granted. The great sadness is that we often take
those for granted whom we love the most. That is especially
true of my relationship with God and with my family.
To counter act this tendency I have started the 10/3
experiment. At 10am & 3pm., I put TWH, Time With Him, into
my calendar. I also program my watch (Vibralite) to vibrate.
This is my reminder to stop & reflect on the last 5 hours. I
review what has happened and how God has been uniquely
present.I jot a few notes and I say thank you. Then, before I go to bed I review my day, I check in with Him and I say thank
you.
I believe that practicing the art of appreciation has amped
my joy, transformed my relationships and given me a greater
reason to get out of bed. Please join me in the 10/3
experiment.

— Dick