Atrophy of the Soul


Just like a muscle, our soul and our mind can atrophy. Atrophy is the body adjusting to inactivity. It is the body adapting to weakness. Human beings are strange creatures, the most unique among God's, as we were created to live in two worlds. And so we must exercise the body and the soul.

The body doesn't just lose muscle, but the muscle itself actually changes. Surprisingly, disuse atrophy and muscle fiber type conversion can occur in as little as 72 hours, and the degree of atrophy depends on how often the muscle is used.

Now think of your soul. How often do you pray?

The body adapts to its environment. When you injure your left leg, your nervous system and brain compensate and automatically shift the weight to your right leg.

The mind adapts to its surroundings as well, and the soul follows. Every part of us is affected by our environment. Just like the body is affected by what we eat nutritionally, our thoughts are formed by the books we read and what we see. If Disney princesses and Marvel superheroes are the extent of your mental diet, that is where your mind will go.

The soul follows where the mind directs it. And the mind’s direction is decided with discipline.

The best way to practice discipline is to exercise the body. Mortify the flesh. Mortify means to put to death. If we do not keep our bodies disciplined, our minds will slip into atrophy and our spiritual lives by reflection will wither. A reed blowing in the wind, instead of steel. Steel is forged. Beaten and hammered. Smashed and put through fire. Folded and trimmed.

How many times today do we turn to God and just offer a simple prayer? Just a “help”, or a “thank you”? The more we workout the easier it becomes. The more off you will feel when you skip a workout. How often do you meditate? And by meditate, I mean take a brief three minutes and talk to God. Just three minutes.

Reps on reps on reps on reps make great athletes. A boxer must throw the same punch a thousand upon a thousand times before they master the knockout. One punch. A few seconds. Break a sweat. Say a morning prayer—even if that prayer is as simple as a "thank you" or "help". Read—even if it’s just a page or a paragraph. Just do something. Because it is not the great action that matters the most. It is the small one. The one you think is insignificant.

Pray now—not for yourself, for the one sinner that needs comfort to repent. Do a few pushups. Go walk a mile. Do something uncomfortable. Because if you don’t exercise, you will atrophy. If you don’t pray, you will just be a reed blowing in the wind instead of, like the cross, planted in the ground while the earth turns.

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