Last Friday I was able to ride outdoors! (In Phoenix, but it still counts.) I had been in Phoenix for our annual firm meeting and decided that I wanted to take a break from riding in the basement to actually get out on the real roads. It was fantastic!! The day started off somewhat cool, but when the sun came up it warmed up nicely. The local bike shop, The Bike Barn (www.bikebarnaz.com) outfitted me with a slick Trek 2.3 that had the same Shimano 105 component group that I just added to my road bike at home. The helpful Bike Barn staff also set me up with a sweet route that made the most of the time that I had and that included a nice climb in the middle of the ride. What surprised me most was that it felt much easier to ride outdoors than it does on the trainer in the basement. Not just because the scenery was more interesting--it actually felt like I could go farther and faster with less effort.
Maybe it really was easier. Or maybe because it felt different, it felt easier. Maybe because it was something fresh and new it was more interesting. I am not sure. What I do know is that the principle seems to apply to a number of aspects of life. Whether it is eating something different for breakfast or taking a new route to work, a new way of doing something seems to make it easier and more interesting--at least for a while.
I wonder whether the same would hold true for spiritual practices. If you usually pray sitting down, what about trying to pray while taking a walk through the neighborhood? If you have read the Bible in one translation for years, what about using a different translation for a while (trading in that NIV for the King James perhaps?). If you always go to the early service at church, how about giving the late service a try? The contemporary or the traditional? What about giving some attention a new spiritual discipline each month on a rotating basis? The month of solitude; the month of service; the month of fasting ... (well, maybe not for the whole month).
If I could feel the freshness in my spiritual life that the ride in Phoenix was for my winter biking, I would welcome that injection of newness and hope. I'll let you know how it goes.