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April 23

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024

Maiden voyage = sore and achy muscles

So yesterday I was able to do what I have been chomping at the bit to do for several weeks months.  To get outside and ride my bike. I’ve been riding all winter on my inside trainer. Several words come to mind when I think of that: Not the same. Very little challenge (except to keep going). One big one: B.O.R.I.N.G. I don’t have the fancy ZWIFT or any other type of trainer that allows one to hook up and then program a simulated ride. One word for that: $$$$$. So to ride a trainer inside is about exciting as watching grass grow or in my case to stare at it looking for some confounded mole activity. Riding outside is the ideal scenario (even given the crazy drivers). But weather, time, and the need for new tires and some maintenance slowed my getting outside to ride.  Until yesterday…

It was still a bit chilly, especially with the wind coming out of the west at about 12-15 mph. But I have clothes for that so I was toasty warm (except for the side of my face the wind hit). I rode 11 miles in exactly one hour. I refueled properly when I stopped. I used a roller to help get the lactic acid out of my muscles, but at the end of the day I was still a bit on the achy side. But it is a good ache and sore because I got it doing something I love to do.

I’m sure you have experienced that as well. Your first hike. Your first canoe/kayak effort after being cooped up all winter. Your first run after the treadmill.  That first ball practice. Stretching and using muscles which had, for the most part, laid dormant for too long. But even as I worked out at the Y all winter, I used different muscles and found sore spots last night that I forgot existed. 🙂

The Bible speaks often about flexing our muscles. Not in a power grab sense but in following Him. In fact, Paul encourages us to “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong…” (Col. 2:7). Each time I ride it will get easier with a little less soreness as I establish a base and foundation. The soreness will leave and the distance and riding time will increase.

Sounds like a recipe for growth, strength and a whole of fun on and off the bike.

September 20

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

It was not a pretty sight. In fact, they were a downright mess. Years of fitful care came home to roost. Some of it was DNA. Some of it was a failure to have checkups regularly and proper maintenance. So at the age of 55 I found myself having radical dental work done culminating (I thought) with wearing braces for almost 3 years.

My DNA was not good. Dentures all around, except for my mom whose teeth were not the best (but she still smiled a lot). The shape of my jaw caused me to chew in such a way that I wore off the bottom teeth. Nerves became exposed. Flossing and brushing were not enough to make up for the years of early neglect. The lack of maintenance at the dentist (like none) as I raised two daughters certainly didn’t help. X-rays were needed and revealed a lot. So the process began. Two surgeries to remove one the largest torus mandibularis, aka tori (bone growth) the doctor had ever seen. This tori was between the bottom teeth and had I not been a side sleeper he said I would have probably died in my sleep because my tongue had nowhere to go. Then began the process of pulling teeth, wearing braces for almost 3 years, crowns, implants…well, you get the picture.

It didn’t happen overnight. It took time. And even after the braces came off (I followed the rules religiously), I’ve had other procedures. They are too numerous for me to mention (or to remember!). 🙂

I wear retainers every night to keep the alignment correct. I’m not going to throw over $15k down the tubes because I wish I could go to bed without them. They make me lisp when I talk and dry-mouthed when I wake up.

The life and growth of a Christ-follower is like that. After years of living in sin, of making a royal mess of our life, we find ourselves having radical treatment. It’s called salvation, where sin is dealt with and treatment is done. It takes awhile to learn, understand and respond to the truth of the Gospel, and then there is the ongoing care which lasts a lifetime. There are glitches along the way, but maintenance is still necessary. Prayer. Bible reading. Fellowship. They are all needed for ongoing spiritual health.

Salvation happens immediately when our sins are forgiven. The ongoing growth and maintenance requires the rest of our lifetime.

Where are you in the process?