When you are about to embark on a great race you make sure that you are well prepared. You start with your bike and your gear, you make sure you have a noteworthy coach and you set up a training schedule.
You ensure that you have the very best diet in place to fuel your body and you have a sports massage therapist on speed dial to massage those training weary muscles for the big day.
To be fair sometimes we just get on the bike and go without doing any training and we just hope for the best. Generally this is not a great idea and believe you me, you only need to do this once to learn the greatest lesson of all – when you embark on a great race – preparation, preparation, preparation is key!
But let’s say you didn’t get the gear and the training. Let’s say you just started with the bike.
You were given this incredibly beautiful red bike. You have never had any training on this bike but all you want to do is get on it and start the race you know you were called for. You do know you need some equipment and so you go out and get yourself the right shoes, you have heard shoes are incredibly important when cycling so that your feet don’t slip out of the pedals. Now you feel you have done what you can – surely this can’t be too hard?
As I write this I can only smile because it sounds so much like Robin and I when we first were given our ‘red bike’. We were so excited. We could see where this bike would go and the plans God had for us with this journey. We just wanted to get going straight away and we assumed that once we took hold of the bike and the handle bars, got the pedaling going we would be at the destination point in no time. We knew we needed some preparation and so we got ourselves some ‘shoes’ – our passion and faith.
This is your cue to smile, knowingly. Yes, we soon discovered that you need build up on not just equipment but also on experience. Part of understanding the journey is that you don’t start with all the equipment or the experience, unfortunately it doesn’t come with the delivery of the bike! Not this kind of race – if I were doing the Tour De France – yes, I would have it all, but these kind of journey’s often begin with just passion and come to think of it that is how most athletes start out too – with bucket loads of passion and no experience. And we all know what it takes to mark off the notches of experience on your belt…lots of scraped knees and elbows.
When we got the red bike we were like two little children on Christmas morning. Nothing could hold us back from jumping on and riding into the sunset and those first few yards were such bliss and filled us with such elation.
We had a red bike – it was incredible. We were excited, filled with positive thoughts and incredible ideas about how it was going to ride and the sights we would see on the road we traveled. We were still revelling in our amazing gift when our little dream received a nasty puncture.
We could not go any further until we learned to fix this puncture and if we really wanted to grow from the experience we had to understand what caused it too.
And so began the part of the journey that most of us don’t think about – because when you are looking at someone else who has managed to get to some type of destination, you don’t really think about the road they have traveled to actually get there – and so we began the long process of waiting, learning, understanding, and generally getting to grips with the requirements and reality of riding this red bike.
We thought that we were ready right from the start, that we had already learned so much about ourselves and were mature enough to handle the ‘bigness‘ of the dream, but we had no idea really – there was much to learn and so God in His infinite wisdom gave us the time we needed to get to grips with Bike Riding 101. Don’t rush off into the sunset – that’s for the movies, this is real life. I can say it tongue in cheek now, but at the time it was really awful and frustrating.
So what did we need to understand?
What the dream was all about – not us – that was the first big lesson – this was not about our personal achievement and success. It was about what would be achieved through our willingness to be sent.
This bike could not be ridden anywhere if it was about us – we needed to really let go of the ‘me’ bit. That in itself was a big puncture to repair and it still likes to rear it’s thorny little head from time to time.
Now we are far more aware of it when it does present itself along the path and we can swerve and miss the thorns and the puncture all together if we are watching where we are going…
In John 12 verse 24 it talks about the wheat kernel first falling to the ground and having to die before it can release seeds just as we need to die to our selfish desires and hiccups before we can hope to be able to give out.
It’s a tough one – dying to our strong emotions and human offenses. It takes so much control to look past the harsh behaviours of others and not to fall into bitterness and unforgiveness. It’s like denying your body water at times because your emotions and your need for self preservation are so huge. I do know that when you do begin to die to these things the return on this is so well worth it.
Peace becomes your companion and when you have peace you can have joy and that joy is your strength and when you have strength you can love and love is your greatest weapon and that is what will get you on the bike.
If you get anything right this week it is this – let go of some of those moments that get you focused on yourself. If you feel you are being offended by someone ask Father for the strength to forgive and to let it go. If you feel your pride has been hurt or your self-confidence has taken a knock because of someone’s words – let it go and see what God has birthed within you and instead bless them. The world is full of pain, we are not meant to be adding to it but letting it go and being the ointment to the wounded.
Be encouraged this week to do just that. Your little red bike is waiting.
continuer à rêver, Michelle
Bicycle sign courtesy of Chaiwat; Possible courtesy of Jeroen van Osstrom; Seeds courtesy of Phaitoon; Sunset courtesy of Sirkul; Novice/Expert buttons courtesy of Stuart Miles