Muscle Memory…The Power of Habit!
I have often desired to grasp better why professional athletes like footballers often subject themselves to such intense practice sessions. I know that practice is not held just for the fun of having a good workout. Athletes practice so that by the time they get to the game they would have gone over the play so many times allowing muscle memory to take over. They are then able to execute the play to perfection.
In practice, athletes train the habits that will make them winners on the field.
After achieving my weekend record of over 267000 steps according to my pedometer in Ikogosi, I decided to step up my jogging routine from 10 times around my estate to 12 longer stretches with an increase in the time required. Upon completing the first 5 rounds, I observed that my body went into almost an automatic mode. Running became virtually effortless.
In space travel, the shuttle is first subjected to intense acceleration until the rocket overcomes the earth’s gravity until it enters the moon’s atmosphere. From that point on, everything becomes effortless because the moon’s gravity now attracts it towards its center. But the initial effort to go against the earth’s gravity is a prerequisite to experiencing the moon’s free-fall.
How could these same illustrations apply to our spiritual life? Physical exercise is clearly useful to our physical fitness and well-being, especially given the power of muscle memory. It takes great effort to get there but it pays off. How much more would spiritual discipline be beneficial to our souls?
Journaling and meditation are some of the major disciplines I have been working on. Journaling provides a record of one’s journey and serves as a mirror to one’s soul. Meditation allows us to reflect or ruminate on God’s principles enabling us to internalize or take ownership of His truths. These two practices keep me in touch with myself, with God and with what He is doing in and through me.
Let’s focus on training and growing in specific spiritual disciplines, one or two at a time. The rewards will be immense, with blessings both for this present life and for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8).