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Spiritual Disciplines Prepare you for "Rainstorms"
It’s 5am and I’ve just crawled out of bed. After getting my work clothes on and brushing my teeth, I head downstairs. The first thing I do is look out the window, to see what the weather’s like. I also get on the local news website and look at the weather Doppler to see what’s in store for the next hour or so. You see, before I set out on the motorcycle, I like to know what the weather’s doing. I could just drive the car, but it’s so much cheaper and quicker to commute on the bike, not to mention just more awesome! Everything is much cooler on the bike.
There are quite a few benefits for me to take the bike to work. An obvious one is the use of the commuter lane, not to mention being able to maneuver around and through traffic easier. But, one advantage for me is parking. I work at a major airplane factory in Seattle area. The engineering office I work in overlooks the factory floor and takes a while to walk to from the parking they designate for us. Actually, the parking system we have is flat out redonkulous, as we literally have to park about 1 mile and a half out from our building and walk in.
Now, if I take the bike, I actually get to ride all the way into the facility and park 20 feet from the entrance to the staircase that leads to my group’s office area. It saves me at least 20 minutes, if not more, one way, on my commute. Don’t know about ya’ll, but 40 minutes is a lot of time per day to take back and make it yours!
So, as we all know, the weather in Seattle is fairly predictable, and when it’s not July through early October, it’s generally clouds and rain. I used to really get irritated about it, but now I embrace it….a little bit anyway. When it comes to commuting on the motorcycle, I have to prepare for, or I’ll just be, miserable!
Anyway, once I’ve looked out the window and at the weather radar, and determined rain gear it is, I begin grabbing all of the gear out of the closet. First, it’s the regular motorcycle gear, which includes riding pants, my Alpenstar protective jacket, gloves and riding boots. If it’s going to be pretty chilly out, I also put on an extra layer underneath, which is really just a sweatshirt. Next, I put on another layer of gear over the normal riding gear that is rain proof. This process usually takes a good 5 minutes, but I don’t mind the work up front. Once the gear is on, I plug in my mp3 player into the in-helmet speakers, open the garage door, start the bike and hop on.
With all the gear on, I am able to stay completely dry. In fact, other than my face shield getting water drops splattered all over it, I don’t even think about the rain too much. I’m able to enjoy the ride (albeit taking it easy around corners and such). Once I arrive at work, I just take the gear off, I’m warm and dry and ready to get on with the day.
I learned my lesson a few times before this, though. Getting caught in rainstorms without the right gear is not fun at all. Cold water running off the gas tank and into the crotch of my jeans is never good. In fact, it plain sucks! The few times that has happened to me, I got off the bike and realized that the water that ran down the legs of my pants literally made me appear to pee myself. I can remember one morning sitting at my desk for about 3 straight hours, so that my pants could dry and avoid embarrassment.
The reason I’m sharing this with everyone is simple. I think that we can carry this same logic into our spiritual lives. If we claim to be Christians, we deal with “rainstorms” and individual trials that can be miserable if we’re not prepared for them. Ephesians 6:11, in the Bible, tells us that if we put on the full armor of God we can stand strong and up to anything that attacks your faith. Just like the raingear that I spend a few minutes putting on before taking a ride in the rain, the armor of God protects me and make life experiences more pleasant and easier to deal with. God promises to bless us and help us through tough times, but it takes having us develop spiritual disciplines to spend time with Him by reading our Bibles, praying or worshipping Him. It doesn’t take a huge amount of time, necessarily, to prepare or get to know Him, but just as in the protective rain gear creates a fun riding experience, your spiritual disciplines can yield great returns in your life.