I have been reflecting on what to write about next and let’s not even talk about actually getting the time to sit down and write…It has been busy but God’s incredible grace is still so evident in every day. The sun never ceases to rise in the morning and amazingly enough, despite global warming it’s been a breeze breathing the cool fresh O2 .
I have been thinking quite a bit about the red bicycle today…and remembering a couple of falls I took off that bike and others since. There was nothing worse as a kid, than coming off the bike at full speed, meeting the tar with a surprised welcome and scraping knees and elbows with absolute abandon and then having to cycle the rest of the way home with a stiffness that completely sets into the bones, bruised body and ego – I am not sure which was worse.
The dream journey is very much like this. It will never stop testing you both when the fairy wheels come off and when you think you are free to ride with abandon. There will always be the possibility of a fall – in fact you could mostly guarantee it. Not that I am being a pessimist here but 9 times out of 10 there is going to be a fall just as in living the dream, there are going to be a few challenges that you will have to face.
Some may rock up unexpectedly, like the luminous zit that pops out on your nose the morning of a job interview. While others may be a little more anticipated but the fall never hurts less even when you know it could happen.
Life is like that, we don’t have to expect negative and difficult situations but we know God talks about trials happening in our lives. Without these trials we would have no reason to grow, no reason to expand our thinking. It makes me think of the verse in James 1 verse 2 – 4:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
This verse talks about us facing adversity and seeing it as a good thing, because it is building our faith, our ability to persevere and stand strong to grow us into complete, mature competent people. Our growth will always results in more faith. This faith is being grown for a time that God has already foreseen. You will only know it when the time comes, why you needed to experience the trials you wished you could have done without.
Riding this red bicycle will take faith. Faith can carry us forward – but when we face steeper inclines and more arduous terrain we are going to have to extend ourselves. The terrain we face ahead is going to challenge us – but you decide on the journey taken and the degree of faith exercised. Remember whatever you sow here is what you will enjoy later.
The question is…Do you want to grow?
Let’s talk about the choices you have on this bicycle when facing the tough terrain.
You could choose an easier path. Maybe you decide to trace the previously used tracks and keep to the paved road – you may not see the need for this tough path and so you choose the road well-traveled instead. If your answer is yes then welcome the sweat on your brow, a couple of scrapes and stiff muscles – these are all a good sign of growth in progress.
You may decide, you are up for this adventure but not on the seat of the bike and so you get off and push the bike. Maybe you even leave it behind and continue ahead on foot without it. You choose the foot path as a more comfortable alternative and without the dream to challenge you, you find an easier route that leads to a quiet stream and you don’t see the need to push on for something you have stopped pushing for. You forget the passion that drove the dream and settle for the comforts of what seems to be a reasonable achievement.
On the other hand, you could choose the road less traveled by ‘red bike’ and novice dreamer or even the more experienced dreamer. This road requires all the stamina, ardour and innovation you can muster to keep going. It’s tough and almost alive in its demands. At times it feels as though the road physically throws you off the bike, willing you to quit and hang up your cycling shorts. You suffer from saddle sores, creaking knees and let’s not even mention the flat tyres you are constantly changing. It feels as though everything forms a force field against you and this red bike. There are days when you are so close to throwing it down, days when regret feels stronger than your fervour and your weariness becomes your closest friend.
Now, these are the trials James talks about. These are the times when God urges us to keep pushing on. It is exactly when we want to throw down the dream, when we are full of doubt and exhaustion, when Father God wills us on. It is here where we earn victory, for when we can ignore the pain, the crushing weaknesses, the deep-rooted guilt or doubt that we overcome.
“You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you.” Philippians 4 verse 13.
Perseverance becomes the pedals of this bike and it spurs us on to pedal, to set our sights on that which God has called us to. It strengthens our resolve to a point where we know that we know that we know, that the victory is ours. (I can actually hear the Vangelis music from Chariots of fire in the beach scene, playing right now as I write this.)
But all jokes aside – you might fall. You might feel very broken to the point where it feels as though there is no hope to bring repair to your situation. I want to say that all things are possible, and I don’t say this arrogantly or with disregard to your current situation, but all things are possible with our God. You can find your way if you just choose to get up – if you just choose to let that be your first step.
Step 2 can be getting your butt back on that saddle. Step 3 – putting your feet back on the pedals of perseverance and then with no reservations start pedaling Forest, pedal! Ain’t nothing gonna stand in your way except your own stinking thinking (as Joyce Meyers would say).
Dare to dream, dare to cycle that dream up the hills and down the valleys – you will get there. Be encouraged that if it’s taking longer than anticipated, it may just mean that God needs to train you a little here and there, refine you for moments you have not yet considered and reveal to you that which you have not been able to see. Trust His time and His process – because often that is what it is more about…your willingness to trust Him – more than the actual achievement of the dream.
Getting to the top of the hill is going to be amazing but your testimony is going to be about the journey it took to get there, more than the actual arrival at the destination. So make the journey moments count. Learn as much as you can from each minute on the trail. Keep thanking God or all the circumstances even the tough ones.
The dream is still there – now get on that red bike and go and get it!
Just keep pedaling,