Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Adjustments - Small Changes Huge Dividends

Nothing stays the same over time.  In nature, plants go through a cycle. There are cycles in our bodies, nature, the economy, relationships and many more things. It's why being an athlete is somewhat challenging - your aim is to have your best performance consistently over a period of time. It's also what makes sports so exciting - as a spectator you wonder how long an athlete will remain at the top of their field. Think Serena Williams, Mo Farah or Usain Bolt.

As someone who runs, I think of the many adjustments I make to perform with a modicum of decency consistently, and then I imagine this multiplied by a huge factor for the professional athlete. You're always trying to improve or reach capacity. In popular culture this is sometimes phrased in the form of a question - "Are you your best you?"

An adjustment is a small alteration, done with the intention of producing a better result. As a runner, I've learned to shorten my stride, change my gait, temper my breathing all with the intention of going longer, faster. I don't make all these changes at once but over time. As I get better at one thing or see an improvement in my times, I am tempted to become comfortable, but then circumstance or choice forces me to adjust again. For example, after making an improvement due to some small changes, I noticed that after long runs I would eventually get a headache.  I had to make another adjustment - increase my intake of electrolytes and stay hydrated well before a run. Sometimes the little changes don't seem to make any sense, but in the long run, they usually do.

And that's the point of life - just when we think we've arrived, there's another adjustment to be made. As long as we're living it's an opportunity for constant progressive change.

Though adjustments are small or incremental it does not mean that they are easy; changing my breathing pattern is not easy nor is learning to change aspects of my personality. I have spent a lifetime attempting to speak softer or use my inside voice in certain situations. My volume can be misinterpreted, therefore, I try different techniques. Some work, some don't but it requires effort because I want a different response and a different outcome.

No area of our life can escape this need for adjustment so that we are maximizing our value and living out our purpose. Our faith gets tested by circumstance. These circumstances provide opportunities for adjustments and recalibration. These adjustments keep us humble, keep us seeking and searching and ultimately relying on God. That never changes, but how we rely on God is up to us. In the many stages of life, there are times when we think we've figured out how to trust, how to pray, how to navigate this path. But then life throws us for a loop in many forms and it seems that all of a sudden we don't know how to pray or our faith seems small. These are opportunities for adjustments.

As a believer, we have what we need to make these changes.  God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7  In the prior verse, Paul told Timothy to fan the flames - put in the effort, but you don't have to figure this out on your own. Love implies relationship - we're not in this race alone; power indicates a Force that will allow us to make the changes that are necessary, and a sound mind means we can think and use resources available to us - all for the goal of constant improvement and movement.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 [NLT]

Wherever you are on this journey, make the necessary adjustment - don't give up.

What adjustments have you made recently?

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