Olympians train their muscles by repetitively practicing their sport--routine--over and over. Even if their mind disengages---their body and its muscles can go on automatic pilot and accomplish the task. Any athlete will tell you it requires practice and LOTS of it---to perform and perform well.
Camille recently talked me into going to a zumba class with her. The instructor at the beginning of the class announced this involves muscle memory and you will catch on with time. My hip muscles revolted and announced they did NOT know how to wiggle to a Latin rhythm while also waving my hands. I am certain there was a time in my life when I could gyrate like that--but my muscles do not remember. It was so much fun that I am going back and teaching my muscles this new movement---and then I am buying one of these belts that one of the class members had on:
Who KNEW exercise could be such fun!
The things we do over and over--they become second nature--no thought required. What is the first thing you do in the morning that requires thought? Certainly not getting out of bed---or the trip to the bathroom---or whatever other steps you ritualistically take every morning. It is a natural flow--found over time--with repetitiveness. Many parts of our day are filled with these practiced routines which happen automatically--no thought required.
We also have a spiritual muscle memory. By practicing--prayer, time in The Word, listening for Him, worshiping OVER AND OVER, we are teaching our spiritual side to remember. THEN when the chips are down--life is falling apart--you are reeling in grief--you can go on automatic pilot and LEAN IN! What you have taught your soul, heart, and mind will surface and take over--even when you cannot think beyond the moment---you will KNOW He is there. You have trained yourself to know where to turn by your day in- day out practicing. Such a comfort to know--when your mind is blank and the world is upside down. MEMORY TAKES OVER--AND HE IS THERE!
"16 Be joyful always, 17 pray at all times, 18 be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus."
I Thessalonians 5:16-18