The goal of a riding a stationary bike is change not destination. We don’t ride to move the bike, your riding to change your yourself. Likewise, God places us in situations where forward movement isn’t part of the equation, because he is working on changing us. sometimes God uses stationary situations to strengthen us for future moves.
God speaks to me while I ride, and here are some lessons I learned a few weeks ago.
Physical activities can be spiritual. The apostle Paul said, “the physical reveals the spiritual.” Every activity can be spiritual because we are spiritual, yes even riding a stationary bike. We can invite the spirit of God to speak, teach, and help anywhere we are, he has an amazing way of helping us understand.
what I understood better was that our body ought to be our slave, not our master. When our body is our master we obey its lusts and desires, such as, “I will have that cake…I will watch that movie…I must spend the money…..” But when a person has self-discipline they have dominion over the earth, since man is made up of dust. Its not terribly comfortable to ride a bike, my flesh does not want to do it, but I tell my body what to do and my body, mind and spirit benefit.
The purpose of the flesh, like the stationary bike is not to go places, (the flesh does not inherit heaven, it stays here on earth) I Corinthians 15. It is our spirit which inherits the kingdom of heaven. The purpose of the flesh is to help the spirit prepare for heaven, like the bike, not actually go anywhere, it is our spirit which takes on the nature and likeness of Christ, and is eternal. Our flesh is a vehicle, a necessary component for earth, a type of stationary bike, it will someday be left behind. Crucify the flesh, what this means to me presently is, bring your flesh into submission to the will of the spirit. Do not permit your flesh to rule over you through its desires to please itself. Live as though the flesh is dead, a dead man has no power or desire to please itself. Crucify its power. Therefore, when we do this, we are making the flesh our slave. Let the Spirit tell your body what to do. just like we get on the bike and direct it, it doesn’t direct us. It is a slave to us.
I learned I need to take care of my physical body and this is totally spiritual.
I do not buy the God wants us beautiful, happy, healthy and prosperous gospel, not that I believe he wants us miserable, I just don’t think God cares as much about our “happiness”, as we do. I believe it is a temptation and opportunity for the flesh to rule. I do not believe he cares about us being happy, nearly as much as he cares about us being holy. I think that happy is a message for the worldly Christian, endurance is a message for the man of God. It’s the declaration of independence that mentions the pursuit of happiness, not the bible. The bible mentions the pursuit of suffering and hardships, carry your cross. So, I signed up for the cycling class.
I do believe God cares that I’m in good working order, holy, honest, of good reputation, good character, responsible, upright, just and pure of heart, faithful and a good Stewart, and he put me in a body of flesh and blood; God knows what my body needs to work well. If I’m dead I can’t obey him, if I’m exhausted its hard to obey as well. If I am ill or depressed and 30lbs over weight I’m fighting against the elements to do the minimal in life and I don’t think that pleases him either. So, I don’t think God is affected by my physique, but I do think he cares that I obey and am faithful with what I have been entrusted. i believe it brings God pleasure when we are operating well. Just as we rejoice over an eagle flying, or a butterfly flittering its wings, or a vine bursting with tomatoes, a dog barking at a stranger. When a thing does what it was made to do that is good. One doesn’t haven’t to be a super model to be healthy and in good working order. I believe God cares a lot about what we eat, what we look at, what we listen to, what we speak, how we love, what we love, what goes in and out of our heart mind and body, and the work we do or don’t do. I don’t believe the prosperity Gospel is a good preaching point, but I do know it pleases people, I also believe it keeps them focused on the wrong thing, and in the end if they buy the message, they want the results, if they don’t get the results– they drop God, believing he didn’t keep his end of the bargain. But perhaps it wasn’t his bargain to begin with. I don’t buy the BEST LIFE EVER…because the way culture defines best and good is actually different than how the bible defines it and frankly.
The better I feel physically the more I can do and am able to do. So, I also don’t believe that God wants me to sit around waiting when I can be doing. When I feel well, I tend to up spiral, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Bodies need things, physical touch, excretion, air, sleep, food and activity when we deny our body of these things it suffers. its not evil to care for our bodies. neglect is not how we are to deny our flesh, we are to deny our flesh by not feeding its sinful appetites. When we care for ourselves the way God intended we are being faithful and obedient. We care for our bodies the way we care for our children, we don’t give them what they want without limit, we do however give them what they need this is responsible of us and loving. our body is base, when our physical needs are met, we are free to grow in other ways, mentally, spiritually and emotionally healthy. we need to get our bodies to the point that they are serving us, and not us them.
He got my attention with music, it was the second song , I strained to listen to the words, is that saying what I think… no it couldn’t be…but it is: “heavens got a plan for your life.” My eyes filled up with tears as I pedaled, the burning in my knees disappeared beneath my gratefulness, those are the lyrics I heard and that was the message God was sending to me. Ok Lord I’m listening, I’m paying attention.
I have been struggling a lot in my “career” as an artist, but heaven has a plan! thank you God for that word of encouragement. Maybe God is making me strong in my art like being on a stationary bike though I’m not yet locomotive. Even though I feel stuck, really stuck, there is a purpose its not to move but to change, to get stronger.
Add some tension. Add more, full turn, more tension, half a turn up, it should be uncomfortable, your working hard. Keep going walk up into second position, back in the saddle, don’t you dare touch that tension, your climbing, you can do this… these were the words I heard as the instructor coached us on.
All this tension increase is to prepare the cyclist for standing up so the cyclist has control, the tension provides balance yet it feels like a rest because the weight of your entire body is helping, rather than when you’re in the saddle and your legs alone are doing the work. As I added tension it simulated climbing a hill, it was excruciatingly difficult, but the goal is to stand. Standing is the highest point in your ride, but we do not stay there, even though you want to. Oswald chambers said, ” we were not made to live on mountain tops, only to visit them.” The hardest thing of all is going from a standing position with full tension to back in the saddle, the mundane ordinary grind, where your legs are doing 99 percent of the work.
don’t We love rising! It’s the mundane that often breaks us down and makes us scream for mercy. But remember when things get hard in life, and the tension increases there is a purpose and it might be time to rise up soon.
riding the bike helps to release grief , stress and strong emotions. I have not been letting myself mourn for things past and lost. as a parent, as a wife, as an artist, as a friend. I have let a lot slip by without intentionality in life. There are so many things I wanted for myself, my children, my marriage, my life that I haven’t had the energy to work harder at and push myself to do. Maybe I am disappointed with some of my life choices, but feel guilty for saying it out loud, so I just whispered it a little while I rode and let it out with my sweat and that really helped. It’s necessary to say what we really feel at least to ourselves, and pushing our endurance helps to say it.
I pushed harder, I have to finish, I pedaled faster, don’t give up. I have given into weariness, I have a hard time accomplishing things and it’s taking a toll on my self esteem and my hopes for the future. I give up more often than I press on. Because I’m just tired and I’m probably tired because I’m not pushing myself.
The woman beside me pushed hard, she didn’t seem drained or tired, she was strong, she had been here before, she knew about pushing hard and finishing well, she had built the structure she needed to do the work she wanted.
Later that day as I was feeling really happy at my “accomplishment” on the bike, my last lesson from the bike: I heard a still small voice. It was sweet and kind, “kim, you don’t push yourself enough in life, I want you to push harder.” its not a bad thing to push ourselves every once in a while. The apostle Paul said, “discipline is never pleasant in the moment, its painful, but it produces harvest of righteousness and peace for those trained by it.” Hebrew 12
I’ll never get strong if I don’t push myself. I’ll never finish if I don’t push myself, I will never have energy to push myself if I don’t practice pushing myself. I don’t like to be uncomfortable so I have to push through that. When something gets hard, I tend to get off bike. I don’t endure the pain nor the peace that comes after.
There is a lot of life to be lived and a lot of spiritual lessons to be learned outside of the pews , out in the frontlines. God can speak to us anywhere, he can show us his will wherever it is we are if we are listening, he will speak.