my Fitbit keeps me on track

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
 You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    O Lord, you know it completely.
 You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is so high that I cannot attain it. – Psalm 139:1-6

IMG_1437So my big gift for birthday number 60 was a Fitbit. I’ve been counting my steps for a couple of years, and I wanted to enter this new decade being more proactive when it comes to taking care of myself; the device offers a lot of options when it comes to keeping track.

A couple of days later I had my Fitbit up and running, and – most importantly – paired with the app on my iPhone. There is a lot I can keep track of, including – and I didn’t realize this when I asked for one – a field where I can input everything I eat.

It’s the health version of the budgeting tool I implemented January of 2015. Pay attention to what’s coming in; pay attention to what’s going out; use the information to make necessary changes; become a better steward of my resources.

The results so far have been excellent – both in the budget and in terms of health. I’ve already increased my daily “steps taken” average by 25%; simply taking note of my calorie intake has effected a positive change; my weight has gone from 185 to 180.

Where can I go from your spirit?
    Or where can I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
    if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
 If I take the wings of the morning
    and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me fast. – Psalm 139:7-10

IMG_1438I can’t help but note the glaringly obvious spiritual application of what’s going on (in addition to having more opportunity to be generous, and taking better care of the body God generously gave me).

Am I approaching my relationship with God with similar intention, attention, and redirection? How do I monitor my spiritual fitness without becoming legalistic or rote? How do I blend my freedom – my status as a loved Child of God – with my need to sit at the feet of Jesus and walk in The Way on a moment by moment, day by day basis?

Is it “Freedom in Christ”… or “Freedom from Christ”…?

Simply taking note of certain spiritual markers would result in dramatically positive changes, as well as improvements at home and at work. My spiritual Fitbit would make not of:

  • Time invested in God;
  • number of pauses in each day in order to spend a couple of minutes in prayer;
  • time devoted to Bible reading;
  • actual number of deliberate selfless acts;
  • ratio of time watching television to time spent with God;
  • number of relationships nurtured;
  • incidence of anger;
  • incidence of acts of kindness… You get the idea.

The spiritual Fitbit: remember, not guilt, but opportunity – DEREK

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my thoughts.
 See if there is any wicked way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24

faith life

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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