I went to a cycling class recently, and was sitting on a bike near the wall of the room. On the wall was a chart for the 4 zones that represent the amount of energy and exertion that we use while cycling. Zone 1 is “little effort.” But, I found myself focusing on the description of Zone 4 - “This is everything you’ve got!” “Don’t hold anything back!”
Our instructors will get us to zone 4, but we won’t stay there too long. It’s a highly intense zone where we are breathless and burning lots of calories. I would assume that if we stayed there for the entire class, many of us would be on the floor passed out!
I think of this Zone 4 today for a couple of reasons. Today is the Feast of the Annunciation, and the reading is from Luke’s gospel. It is the encounter between Mary and the angel Gabriel, who comes to announce to her that she “has found favor with God” and “will conceive and bear a son.” She is part of God’s plan for the world and for us humans.
I really wonder how long it took her to respond to the request? Part of me believes that, even though she may have had some reservations, and she may have even taken some time to ponder this, they weren’t enough to hold her back. She didn’t hold anything back, and she gave everything she had! She was in Zone 4! She was all in!
In terms of the call we receive from our higher power, and the things we may be asked to do, we are being asked to be Zone 4 dwellers for the duration. Put it all out there. After all, aren’t we in relationship with a higher power that gives their all for us? The question becomes, how far are we willing to go in response to what is being asked of us?
The 2nd reason I think of Zone 4 today is because it is my birthday. I was born on the feast of the annunciation. I, too, believe that God continues to call me, grow in me, and make my life more fulfilled and joyful. And as a result, I want to be a Zone 4 responder to this call! I’m not always there, and there are days that I just don't trust the call. But, then there are those days when I put my feet on the ground in the morning, and say to God, “Thank you! Let’s do this day! I’m all in today!”
What would our day be like today if we played full out? If we gave everything to God or our higher power, and held nothing back? If we put ourselves at the disposal of a higher purpose and let our hands, minds and hearts be used for a greater good?
I want to commit myself, on this 53rd birthday, to try and be a Zone 4 dweller more frequently and for longer duration's than a cycling class. After all, we have been created for Zone 4, and who knows what wonderful things might be born in us if we hold nothing back!