The Chaplain's Notebook


Adam Dachis of LifeHacker writes, “Muscle memory is not a memory stored in your muscles, of course, but memories stored in your brain that are much like a cache of frequently enacted tasks for your muscles. It’s a form of procedural memory that can help you become very good at something through repetition, but in exactly the same way it can make you absolutely terrible at that same thing.”

We all develop muscle memory — what might be called habits — on purpose or by default; it may be conscious, unconscious or subconscious. Law enforcement officers, military personnel, athletes and musicians are all familiar with this process.

The Bible tells us stories of Abraham and the men of his household who were trained in warfare. And among David’s men, who were known to do mighty deeds, became giant slayers themselves. One of these was Eleazar, one of the three mighty warriors who rose to strike the Philistines. And though his hand grew weary, he clung to the sword until a great victory was achieved that day for Israel.

Such victories required not only physical muscle memory, but a kind of mental, emotional and spiritual muscle memory as well. These heroes saw — modeled through the life of their leaders — a lifestyle of morality and spiritual commitment, acts of worship and prayer. Moreover, they lived this practice daily. Walking the talk every day made the walk easier, and it still does!

Those who live out their faith, though human and imperfect, show us how to balance physical training with a deep and committed reverence — taking time daily for prayer, silence and meditation — even if but for a moment! In fact, all the more because they are human; if they can do it, we can do it!

In time, faith practice can give us a source of strength and courage, always available when needed in a crisis. It’s a well always full of water.

These ancient people were no different than us. Like them, following what God wants for us takes a lifetime of conditioning. David’s men, for example, started as outcasts, in debt and by no means model citizens. Yet through effort and discipline (“skillful means” as a Buddhist might say) to be obedient to their faith, they were transformed into exemplars of honor, morality, integrity, courage and duty.

Interestingly, most of the greatest warriors and leaders in world history have been, and are, people of faith, of prayer and commitment. They didn’t get there overnight. And there were always times of darkness and challenge. But, like Curtis Mayfield sang, they would “keep on keeping on.”

Although muscle memory requires commitment, it’s OK to start small, even with the tiny step of saying,
“I’ll try.” As Martin Luther King Jr. described it, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Just FYI, here are some links I found interesting:
• -memory-works-and- how-it-affects-yoursuccess-5799234
• ?search= 2%20Samuel+23:9-11&version=NASB

Have a blessed day!