Last night I took a spinning class for the first time. If you are unfamiliar with spinning the quick description is that it is a low-impact cardio class that takes place on a stationary bike where you do intervals between the easy, moderate and hard tensions on the bike in either the sitting or standing position. I don’t know why I was so determined to go last night, particularly after hearing from a few people that the spinning is way intense and I would be drowning in a pool of my own sweat, but I didn’t care, I was up for the challenge. After all, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, right? Right.
I entered the class early and searched for a bike that was hidden so that my novice status wouldn’t be given away immediately. I found a bike in the corner and started to make the necessary adjustments when I realized I wasn’t sure what to adjust and why. Luckily the instructor caught wind of my status and she quickly came over and explained how I should adjust the seat to my hip bone, the handle bars so that I’m not too stretched out–for a beginner, strapped me into the pedals on the bike and told me about how the class would go. She told me that since it was my first time I should just take this class and the next three just to get comfortable. She then left me to my own devices and pumped up the volume so that class could begin.
Class started with only five people, so I had no time to get intimidated by a bunch of “go hard or go home” freaks. We started off easy enough as she let us pedal at a normal speed with the tension on the bike nearly non-existent. But soon she asked us to turn the tension up to moderate to do our first stand-up ride for 30 seconds. “This should be ok,” I thought to myself. WRONG! Actually I made it for 20 seconds before my legs started burning and I relented under the pain and sat down.
Class went on like this for 45 minutes. Stand up 30 seconds, sit down for 3 minutes, stand up for 3 minutes, sit down for 30 seconds, adjust the tension to moderate, ease the tension, climb uphill, feel the beat, sprint, pump it, feel your heart beat outside of your chest, let the sweat drown you…The whole time, I thought I would die. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, I never thought I was going to die, but if you saw the look on my face, you would have thought I thought I was going to die. But I did realize the thing about spinning is it is not so much a test of your physical strength as it is a test of your endurance. The whole time I kept thinking, “Don’t give up. You can make it. Just hold on.” Most of the class I was saying these things under my breath and even thinking about the scriptural conglomeration between Ecclesiastes 9:11 and Matthew 24:13, “The race is not given to the swift, nor to to the strong, but to the one who endures to the end.” Our walk with Christ is not so different from a spinning class.
We exist between two tensions, the tension of the world and that of being with God. The tension of the world would represent the easy tension on the bike. In the world we are pedaling fast but not actually going anywhere. But the tension of being with God is the moderate tension where our feet grip the pedals and we have to climb uphill to reach for the mark of the higher calling. And that climb strengthens us. Walking with Christ is not supposed to be easy and there will be alot of opposition, but you have to push through all of that to walk in the light. When we decided that we’d rather walk with Christ than be of the world, we decide to take a walk that will not always be a cake one.
In the moderate tension pedal uphill, we must encourage ourselves. I was on that bike telling myself I could do it, even if it meant I couldn’t always stand when everyone was standing. But it was my ability to speak positive words to myself that I stayed strapped in and on the bike. Truthfully it hurt being strapped into that bike. My feet were bound by these straps that made sure that when I stood up or when I pedaled fast, I’d never fall off, but isn’t God like that? He is the strap that ensures that no matter how fast we go or what position we take (for Him), we never fall.
Finally there were moments when I was pedaling so fast that I felt out of control, but my saving grace was this emergency stop button the instructor told me about. She said that if ever I need to stop or slow down, all I needed to do was push the button and it would stop the wheel from turning and thus my legs from pedaling. Throughout the 45 minutes of the class I was so thankful for the big red button. Each time I felt out of control, there it was for me to use. And God is there for us everytime we feel like our lives are out of control. He is the big red button we can push to stop spinning and start sitting with Him in peace. For Him, all He wants to know is that we trust Him enough to seek Him in our times of need (and outsides of our times of need.) For Him, He wants us to hide His word in our hearts and use that as fuel to keep going. For Him, all He wants to know is that we desire to endure to the end.
My goal in last night’s spin class was to simply endure through the class and that I did. My goal in my life with God is to simply endure to the end, and that I will do.