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“PUKING OVER PURSUED GREATNESS” – Feb 11

February 11, 2015

““…whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:6

 I want to be like Tony Martin… the cyclist, not the singer.  Tony Martin is a three time world champion and an absolute monster in the individual event where cyclists race against the clock.  The individual time trial is the “race of truth” since winning depends only on a rider’s strength and endurance.

I imagine being Tony Martin in the obscurity of my basement while spinning on my trainer.

Just like Tony Martin,…

I lie low over time-trial handlebars in a sleek aero-position.
I crank out intervals in my big chain ring.
I practice the Tony Martin open mouth “air scoop” breathing method.

I am a world champion time trialer… in my basement.

The sun shone brightly on a recent Saturday with temperatures above 40 degrees F and only a slight wind.  It was the perfect opportunity to turn my Tony Martin impersonation loose on the local rural roads. I kicked gravity loose and after a short warm-up, I was flying along in the practiced aero-position of a world champion that my mind imagined me to be.

Tony Martin had positioned me such, that only an extreme craning of my neck would allow sighting any distance ahead.  I had to content myself with watching the road a mere 5 feet beyond my front tire.  An occasional glance into the distance was my only assurance that the road actually continued before me.  The problem with this approach was that my focal point was upon a road blurred with speed.

I powered through some rollers but on the ascent of the last hill I began to feel a little queasy.  I held my aero-position thinking that the exertion was causing my stomach discomfort.  At the top of the hill, I slowed my pedaling and allowed my heart rate to fall.  One cough and then another brought me out of my aero-position.  A few coughs turned into dry heaves.

What is going on?  I am about to puke.

"The Way Way Back"I had not been riding hard enough to make myself puke.  “This is ridiculous,” I thought as I tried soft pedaling between wretches.  As I sat up on my bicycle, my head swirled and my stomach gurgled.  These symptoms were all too familiar from a childhood of relegation to the backseat of a station wagon.

I had made myself motion sick.
I had nearly made myself puke over a pursuit of greatness.

My Tony Martin impersonation had backfired.  I had failed at one of the three principles of a proper time trial fit – comfort.  (The 3 Priorities of a Proper Triathlon Bike Fit)

Needless to say, I have raised my handle bars and conceded, “I am not Tony Martin; at least not today; probably not tomorrow either.” He is still my example but I just can’t do some of the things he makes look so easy.  Subsequently, I have ridden this same route in my new more comfortable position.  Even though I am not as low as before, this new position allowed me to maintain an aero-position through the majority of a ride.  The result was that I was significantly faster and I never felt like puking.

We have a plethora of examples in our lives – especially our spiritual lives.  Paul encouraged us to follow these examples.  Therefore, following the example of another more mature Christian is not a bad thing.  It is wise to learn from the experience of someone who has walked deeply in the Spirit for years.

I have a lot of spiritual heroes.  I appreciate the gift of faith that these people have demonstrated by their lives and the glory to God that they have been blessed to participate in. However, my greatest example is Jesus Christ himself.  There has never been a better example of how to live than the life of Christ.

However, what happens when we don’t
achieve the same result of our example?

I learned that I cannot hold an aero-position like Tony Martin, but that does not negate the value of his example.  I demonstrated to myself that I will experience more success by following Tony Martin’s example to the best of my ability rather than giving up completely on riding in an aero-position.  Therefore, I am not going to abandon my Tony Martin impersonation.  I am going to tweak it.  I will continue to tweak it because I know that even a tweaked Tony Martin impression will be better than doing it my own way.  However, my goal will always be the perfect impersonation.

I have seen many folks make resolutions in their spiritual lives influenced by examples from the Bible or some other exemplar example of true faith.  They were great godly resolutions.  Yet, they abandon their resolve when they discover that they just can’t get it done like they had thought.

February is the month when most resolutions are abandoned.  Often, the optimism of a new year gets crushed under the practicalities of real life and we find that we just can’t do what we had hoped.  Many of us find that the activities of those we want to emulate are just too hard to pull off.  When that happens, there is a strong tendency to give up.

long_road-aheadI posted my resolution for 2015.  I am already behind on several of them.  For one, I know that I won’t be riding like Tony Martin by August.  However, it would be silly for me to abandon my plans just because they are not working well in light of my everyday life.  Therefore, I am going to do a little tweaking and continue until I get something that works, because I know that it will be better than going back to my own way.

There may be a whole list of legitimate and illegitimate reasons for not doing what seemed so tangible in January.  Yet, it is good to remember we are on the long road of perseverance.

Just don’t give up. 
Don’t make yourself puke over a pursuit of greatness. 

Tweak what needs to be tweaked in order for you to consistently do what the Lord has drawn you to do.  Few goals are ever achieved in exactly the manner we plan.  We are all individuals with our own strengths, weaknesses, and personal commitments.  It would be unrealistic to think that a resolution will not have to be altered under the pressures of life.

Striving after the Lord is worth it.  Following Christ in our tweaked, imperfect manner will always be better than going our own way.

PRAYER: Lord, you know that I need a lot of tweaking.  Forgive me for the imperfect manner in which I strive to follow you.  Help me to follow better.  Help me to not give up on what is good for my soul.  Help me to desire you more than anything else.  Lead me in way of following you in obedience and joy.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

 

 

6 comments

  1. Tony Martin has his gifts (perfect aero-positioning, air-scoop breathing, etc.), you, JD, have yours: insight, humility, and strong communication skills! I’ll bet you have more, too.

    Your post included much truth and your prayer brought tears to my eyes. I, too, need more tweaking–even at my age–and want God to lead me in the way of obedience and joy. Note to self: The former produces the latter.


    • Thank you Nancy; you are too kind. I appreciate the encouragement. You are so right in point out that God leading us in obedience results in us getting tweaked to and for His glory.


  2. Your post made me laugh and was inspiring. Thanks


    • Thank you very much.


  3. This is a great analogy. God always amazes me. I used to think that God just wanted us obey all the rules and follow along like little robots.

    But He created us individually and that is how He wants us to live. He wants us to explore and be creative, to live our lives fully and freely. God wants me to be uniquely me.


    • Amen! I have always wondered if God shakes his head when we take all the uniqueness that He has gifted us with and try to transform it into conformity.



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