It’s All About the Heart

by | Apr 27, 2020 | Faith | 10 comments

One of the things I enjoy about riding my road bike is the satisfaction I get from increasing my speed over previous rides. But focusing on speed can be misleading. One recent ride (re)taught me an important lesson.

I was making great progress on the outbound leg. My average speed was up four mph and my legs felt strong. But on the way back my exhilaration turned to discouragement as the ride got much harder. I struggled with every pedal stroke to keep my speed up. I immediately chalked it up to starting out too fast and using up my energy. An obvious conclusion, right?

Wrong. I’d failed to realize that I’d started with a slight tailwind, which had then picked up over the course of my ride. I now found myself riding into a stiff headwind and couldn’t keep pace. I was demoralized and disappointed in my performance.

A couple of points to draw here. First, there’s no getting around it: Headwinds suck. Life will have both good and bad experiences, and we can’t just hope for tailwinds all the time. We must deal with headwinds when (not if) they occur.

Second, it’s important to keep our focus on the right thing when we’re in a headwind. Monitoring speed kept telling me I was failing. But my heart was actually getting a great workout. A strong heart is the real prize, and the ultimate goal: Only an aerobically-fit heart will position me to ride further and faster. While it’s relatively easy to strengthen legs, hearts only get stronger when tested over longer periods of time and through increasingly difficult challenges.

“There’s no getting around it: Headwinds suck”

Turning this to matters of faith, this is the essence of James’ encouragement:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1.2-4)

Monitoring the condition of our hearts is always more important than monitoring “performance”—especially riding into the headwind of COVID-19. With people dying, families/friends being separated and all the predictions of a new Great Depression, it’s easy to fall into the trap of letting our hearts hang on to fear, bitterness, anxiety, anger, judgment, jealousy, etc. It’s easy to doubt God and his purposes.

Those things take our eye off the prize and distract us from the point of faith. Faith isn’t about God giving us a tailwind, it’s about trusting him no matter how strong the headwinds blow. What God’s doing in us is always more important than what he’s doing for us.

My prayer for you today is that you can embrace God’s promise and let perseverance do its work. This headwind is training us.

“What God is doing in us is always more important than what he’s doing for us.”

Let me hear from you: Leave a comment and tell what are you doing to monitor your heart, and the hearts of the people you’re discipling?

Damian Gerke is called to help individuals and churches experience genuine transformation into the identity of Jesus. He is on the leadership team of 1Body Church. Damian is married to Cheryl, his wife of 30+ years, and they have three grown children.

Damian has a diverse background that includes working as a design engineer in the aerospace industry, in vocational pastoral ministry and as a human resources learning and development manager. He has also maintained a leadership coaching practice, helping both ministry and marketplace leaders excel in their roles.

He is an author (Taking the Lead: What Riding a Bike Can Teach You About Leadership). He blogs regularly about leadership and life issues at DamianGerke.com, as well as faith and church leadership issues here at 1Body.church. He's also a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) through the Association for Talent Development, and will soon complete the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential process through the International Coaching Federation.

10 Comments

  1. Mark Goering

    This is so good Damian!

    Reply
    • Damian Gerke

      Thanks Mark! So Glad you found it helpful, especially for checking on your disciples’ heart condition. God bless!

      Reply
  2. Morgan Wallace

    Love your writing style. Looking forward to more & more blogs from 1Body <3

    Reply
    • Damian Gerke

      Thanks Morgan! And we are so grateful for all you do with 24:14 (much of which is behind the scenes that only God knows about) for the cause of the gospel and the multiplication of disciples. You’re a blessing, sister!

      Reply
  3. JV

    This really encouraged me. Thank you! The illustration of headwind and tailwind is really helpful. I’m going to meditate on this for awhile.

    Reply
    • Damian Gerke

      JV – It warms my heart that God’s personal reminder to me became an illustration that then helps someone else on their faith walk! Praying for you!

      Reply
  4. Stanley

    Thank you Damian this is good! Directing me to monitor my heart attitude that when joy and peace are gone I can see what I have done to contribute to my condition so that I won’t be living like a victim Instead living a life of repentance.

    Reply
    • Damian Gerke

      Amen, Stanley, way to go! Monitoring our hearts is one of those things we tend to so easily overlook.

      Reply
  5. Gerald Brunworth

    Damian
    Appreciate the distinction between strong legs and a strong heart. The idea of a strong headwind was also helpful. I think that the Lord provides a strong headwind ever once in a while when He has not been able to get my attention in other ways.
    God bless.

    Reply
    • Damian Gerke

      Thanks Gerry! I believe you’re right about God bringing us headwinds every now and then: “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.” (Heb. 12.6-7). God bless you as well.

      Reply

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