When was the last time you treated your hips to the gentle caress of a hula hoop? If it’s been more than a few years you may be under the misapprehension, like I was, that using this classic toy is like a riding a bicycle – you never forget how.
When some of my friends told me of the fun they were having in a new exercise class using weighted hula hoops, I decided to buy a hoop and get in on the action. I’d had some success with the hula hoop game on my Wii Fit video exercise program, so I expected the skillful technique I had as a child to come back to me quickly. I’ve never forgotten how to ride a bicycle, after all.
My attitude about past accomplishments is that I can still do anything I have ever done…until I try and fail. In my mind I was still the schoolyard hula hoop champ until I pulled that plastic circle over my head, gave it a spin, and caused my sons to collapse in hysterics at my wildly gyrating hips as I failed, time and again, to keep the toy spinning around my middle. Eventually, through dogged persistence, I was able to keep the hoop going long enough to get my daily workout, but the experience was eye-opening; I was reminded of how easy it can be to lose one’s gifts if one fails to exercise them.
There is a theory that says if you want to feel a certain way, you should act “as if” you already do; the deed can come before the motivation and even create it.
In times of personal stress or political tumult it can be difficult to feel like exercising the spiritual gifts at our disposal as Christians.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control…Galatians 5:22-23
Could it be that exercising these spiritual gifts, whether we feel motivated or not, could not only prevent our losing them (like my flexibility and skill with the hula hoop), but might actually help us to acquire them in the first place?
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?Matthew 5:43-46