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A little over a year ago, my oldest son, Quade, decided he wanted to get stronger at his bench press by starting a push-up program. Being the coach that I am, I quickly designed a simple yet effective strategy for getting him there. I programmed a daily workout of 10 push-ups per hour for every hour he was awake. He looked at me half confused and said, “Only ten an hour?” I confirmed the good news for him. No sooner did that happen than my other son, Jack, revealed that what I was really doing was programming 170 push-ups per day. “Don’t focus on the day, focus on the hour,” I said. “Just do ten an hour and let’s see what happens.” Fast forward 12 months and Quade is closing in on 70,000 push-ups. That’s right, 70,000. He’s on target to hit 100,000 this December. His push-up challenge reminds me of the power of micro-decisions.

When most athletes join the gym, they bring some goals with them. Goals are what I refer to as macro-results. They are the larger, long term destinations athletes pursue. And I love it when they share their goals with me, because it shows they want my help. I tell almost every athlete the same thing after they tell me their goals – JUST SHOW UP. Yep, that’s it. Sometimes they look at me confused, as if I didn’t quite supply enough information. But the truth is the cumulative effect of consistent exercise is the journey of fitness. Another way to say it is micro-decisions lead to macro-results.

If you want to get fit, you need to put in the work. And the same is true for spiritual fitness. Spiritual goal setting is different though. You don’t want to quantify spiritual training or you’ll miss the point of doing it. In other words, ten prayers an hour until you get to 70,000 prayers may be a lot of prayers, but did it really allow you to experience the presence of God? Instead, focus on the end state of Shalom. Shalom is a richness and fullness of life experienced when you’re consistently connected to God. People whose lives reflect this kind of flourishing are less likely to let life get the best of them. They are spiritually durable. But that’s only because of their micro-decisions. In other words, they are doing some daily spiritual exercises in pursuit of a deeper connection to God.

When I’m designing spiritual training programs, athletes are often confused by the variety of exercises. See, if we did the same workout in the gym every day for 21 days, we’d probably lose half our members. Why? Because it becomes boring and monotonous. The adventurous appeal of something new every day is exciting, and part of what makes CrossFit what it is – constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement. So why are so many of you avoiding this in your spiritual life? God’s love for you isn’t dependent on if you read the Bible every day for a year. I bet there are days when after reading you can’t even remember what you read. Mix it up! Try blending in some new spiritual exercises, like self-denial or solitude. Throw in some journaling or a day of simplicity. The reason I tell athletes the only thing they need to do is make it to the gym is because I know when they get there, we have a plan to help them reach their macro-results. But if your spiritual exercise routine no longer requires any decisions, then it may not be taking you where you really want to go.

If I had told Quade a year ago he was going to do 70,000 push-ups in a year, he would have told me I was crazy. But for 6,480 hours over the last 405 days, all he’s done is ten push-ups an hour. He’s learned the power of micro-decisions. And while all those push-ups have helped his bench press, maybe the monotony of your spiritual routine is what’s keeping you from experiencing Shalom. Make a micro-decision today to add some new spiritual exercise to your life and discover the benefit of variety.

Questions for Reflection:

When was the last time you added something new to your spiritual training program? How did it go?

What’s one new spiritual micro-decision you could make today?

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