Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Running again

Last Easter, I was able to run 10km in 50 minutes, which I was pretty proud of.  However, I hadn’t been jogging much since then.

I decided that while I was on holidays over Christmas, I would try and get myself back to that time.  I tried a few times, but wasn’t able to do it. 

Today, I just decided to keep going.  After about 30 minutes or so, I started to get into a rhythm, or ‘flow’.  This is described by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly as a mindset where things flow, where what you are doing seems quite easy, and you get lost in it.  It happens when the challenge of a task is enough to keep you interested, but not too much that it is too difficult.  That’s what I felt today.  So I kept running.  And when I got to 40 minutes, I realised that I could be able to make 10km in 50 minutes.  So I kept going, and I made it.  Nearly fist-pumped the air when I did, too!

In reflecting upon this, I learnt something, well I was reminded of something that I already knew.  And that is to never give up. 

It’s a bit silly to think back on the other times I had been jogging recently when I convinced myself I couldn’t make the time, because I hadn’t even jogged for 50 minutes.  I got to about 30 and decided that I wasn’t going to make my goal so I stopped.  ‘Just a loosener today’, ‘I’ll have to work up to 50’…  How did I expect to ever make 10km in 50 minutes if I never even jogged for 50 minutes?

Also, if I had have given up in the first 20 minutes or so today, I never would have reached that flow stage.  Sometimes, a task can be quite difficult at first, and it’s only when we persist that it becomes easier.

And of course, if I hadn’t have kept going to 50 minutes today, I never would have reached my goal.

So, never give up!!!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Vision and Passion

Both vision and passion are necessary if we are to achieve anything of great importance.

To have vision without passion is like a fireman who gets a call that there’s a fire, and he gets out his map or gets out his SatNav, and plans out his trip, then sits back thinking the job is done.  Great vision, great planning, but no result.
To have passion and not vision is like the fireman who gets a call that there’s a fire, and he runs out to the truck, turns on the hose and sprays it all around the fire station.  It doesn’t matter how fast that water comes out, it will all be wasted and eventually it will run out.
We need vision so we know where we are going, and we need passion to motivate us to get there.  If we have both vision and passion, we can get to the fires, the fires of hell, and we can allow the Water of Life, the Passion of Heaven, to target those fires and make a difference where we can be most effective.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Endings and new beginnings (Isaiah 6:1-9)

A little over six months ago, my father passed away – the day previous to that, I finished up at my workplace – a few weeks after that I decided to stop attending a church that I had been at for 28 years – but even as this was all happening, I knew that these endings would produce new beginnings – just like Isaiah…

In the first nine verses of Isaiah 6, I see a process here – firstly, the king dies – and sometimes, things in our lives have to end in order to make room for something new – sometimes we can control these endings; sometimes God controls them – but there will be a new beginning…
The second thing that happens is that Isaiah has a vision – a new revelation of who God is – and what an amazing vision it is – a vision of God in all His glory – and His robe fills the temple – our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), so in the same way God should be filling us.
Next Isaiah is aware of his sin, his humanness - and he falls on his face and humbles himself before God – and God responds to his humility by cleansing him – but even this cleansing process is difficult and painful – the angel had to use tongs to pick up the live coal – it was hot! – but the angel touches Isaiah’s lips with it – that would hurt! – a live coal on your lips – ouch!!! – but it is all part of the cleansing process that Isaiah is going through.
Then God speaks: ‘Whom shall I send?’ – and finally, Isaiah is ready, and he responds: ‘Here I am, send me!’ – and God says ‘Go’ – the process is complete!

Something ends, we receive a new vision, we see God, God fills us, we humble ourselves, God cleanses us, we are willing, God says ‘go’.

But there’s something else going on through this whole process – the angels are praising God, glorifying Him – and throughout this process in our lives, God is being glorified – it’s not for us, it’s for God.

So, if anyone reading this is feeling the pain of an ending in their life, I encourage you in this – seek God for a greater vision, allow yourself to be filled with His Spirit, humble yourself before Him, allow Him to cleanse You, be willing to do what He asks of You, and be ready because He will send you – and it is all, always, for His glory!!!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Running, cricket, playing piano and relaxation

Was running down a hill once and noted that I could relax more and let gravity take me to the bottom – then thought about how when you run, there’s a point at the top of your stride where theoretically you could be completely relaxed, even if only for a moment, and if you can do this, you’ll be able to run for longer…
Was watching the cricket once and one of the commentators mentioned how hard it must be to concentrate for a long innings, which may last for hours – another commentator stated that you only have to concentrate for the few seconds at a time as the bowler is bowling the ball, and the rest of the time you’re clearing your head, relaxing yourself and preparing for the next ball…
When I was taking piano lessons, my teacher said once that I need to relax my hand and wrist after I have played the note – it doesn’t take much muscle to hold the key down once it has been pressed – this is something that I’ve become increasingly aware of the more I play – I teach my students that they only need enough tension in their hands to press the key at the required dynamic (volume)…
All of these examples are about controlled tension – we need tension in our lives, but we need to control it – in the same way that a jogger only needs enough tension for each stride, and the cricket batsman only needs enough concentration for each ball as it happens, and the piano player only needs enough muscle tension for each note, we only need enough tension or stress for each moment in our lives – if we worry about what might happen tomorrow or regret what happened (or didn’t happen) yesterday, then we are using too much stress – it is unnecessary.
Our challenge in life is to control our tension and only use the amount that we need for each moment as it arrives – no more, no less…