Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Hill

Remember when you were a little girl (sorry guys!!!) and you got your first bike? The one with the banana seat, big basket on the front and if you were lucky, a bell to ring when you were speeding down the street? Life was good....you rode in your yard, to the houses of friends to play, and to your Grandmama's--if she lived close enough to you! You'd put your baby dolls or Barbies in that basket and take off like a streak!! Woohoo! Life just didn't get much better!!!

Fast forward 20-30-and more years to the bike I now own. It's a road bike. Put your two fingers together and that's the width of the tires. Gone is the banana seat...in it's place is an uncomfortable hard seat. No more cute basket....replaced with a tiny black canvas bag that velcros under your seat. It's just big enough for CO2 cartridges, tubing for flats, car keys, and cell phone. ( I have no idea what to do with the CO2 cartridge, but my hubby said that I needed it so I have one!!) I now wear a helmet and riding gloves. No one wore a helmet when I was little--they didn't even make them!!!

This morning while riding on a "gently rolling" course near home, I was ready to tackle the hardest part of the ride...the steep downhills. I don't know what grade these hills are, but to me, it's a very high percentage!!! Most people have fun flying down the hills. I, on the other hand, lock up in fear and put the "grip of death" on the handles. I can't find the brakes fast enough! This grip is so intense that on long rides, my entire body suffers. The next day, I'll wake up and be sore all over! It's just not worth it! I would much rather be running!

There was very little traffic in the industrial park where I rode. It's a loop that I repeated 3 times. Unfortunately, the HILL was there all three times. I put the bike in a lower gear as I crested to the top of the hill anticipating what was to come. The low gear helps me to stay"grounded" and more in control as the speed increases going downhill.

At the top of the hill, I took a deep breath and leaned forward. Gravity took over, and I FLEW down the hill! The wind was in my face and all I could do was to pray that God would keep me safe from unexpected rocks in the road or huge trucks that could causes me to tighten my "grip of death" even more.

Isn't that how it is with so many of us? We want to be in control--in the driver's seat at all times. If only we would release the"grip of death" and hang onto God's wonderful plan for us, we'd be fine! He wants us to be "grounded" in Him, in His Word. When we are "baby" Christians, our walk is like that first bicycle. We are taking little steps--or rides--in familiar territory. Our family, our friends, and our churches support us and are there if we fall off the bike and skin our knees. As our faith matures, God calls us to be a little more adventuresome--the road bike. It can take us to unchartered territory. We may need a road map (or a cell phone!) to help us get back to our home. For those who have been walking with Christ for a little while, we're like that bicycle. We have to trust Him and obey His directions. If we choose not to, we'll wind up getting lost--in more ways than one! He has the perfect route for us. It has easy flats to coast, hard hills to climb, and those steep grades to enjoy the wind in your face! If we don't get off that baby bike and trust Him, we'll miss out on something absolutely wonderful! I Corinthians 2:9 says it beautifully. " No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." I don't know about y'all, but I WANT to see and experience the plans that He has just for me!! How awesome is that???

When I made it to the bottom of the hill on loop number one, I realized that I never touched the brake! I was too busy experiencing the wind in my face and the confidence that God was flying down the road right beside me having just as much fun as I was. I think I even heard Him holler "Woohoo" flying down the hill!!



Yolanda said...

Yeehaw! I asked two years ago for an old fashioned bicycle. I wanted the old style handle bars, no speeds, simply pedal, AND ONE LARGE BASKET.

I got just what I asked for and I love the simplicity of it. God is just like that, so simple.

Why do we tend to want all the bells and whistles? Lord, give me the simple. :0)


tiggerdaisy said...

Who-Hoo! I so want to have a bike to ride through the countryside! I want to be free and experience God's grace and beauty and provision as I push forward.

I could almost envision you riding down the hill taking in God's best...great post! :)

Prayers and blessings,

Paula (SweetPea) said...

You had me joyfully riding down memory lane with the banana seat, basket and all until you mentioned the hill. From then on I read with fear. For you see, I had the misfortune of having a bicycle accident going down a hill when I was 10. I didn't even make it far down the hill (no where near the dip). As a result, I broke my jaw and as a result of a faulty doctor doing a faulty surgery, I lost my jaw joint...no blood to the joint post surgery and it died. I've had a couple jaw problems since then but hope I can glide through life the rest of the way with one jaw joint.

I law your analogy of the bikes depending on our ride with God.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can ever ride a hill without the physical death grip and riding the brakes tight. I guess I can be excused huh?

Chris said...

What an awesome post Susan.

I can totally remember riding my yellow, banana-seat, bicyle all around the yard, through the woods to my grandmothers, back down our street with never a worry or care. (not to mention no helmet, gloves, flat fixing gear, etc)

I think that sometimes I lose sight of the beauty around me while I'm on a training ride or run. I get so caught up in meeting my training goal for the day, riding harder, running faster, etc. I got your message about comfort zones but for me it was more about taking time to enjoy what God has created for us and to focus more on Him and his creation than on myself and MY goals.

Thanks again for the great post!!

On Purpose said...

I too had a yellow banana seat bike! How fun!

Being in a relationship with God is all about our willingness to take the adventure, right?

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Sounds like you found your "brave" amidst the wild ride! I want to find my too.

God is, by far, the wildest ride of my life. Oh for the courage and faith to let go and feel the empowering wind of his Spirit breathe over my frame.


Leebird said...

Susan!!! You should shorten this slightly and submit it to proverbs31 as a devotional! I truly feel this year is my road bike year...God is such a good navigator! Love, Lee

Kelley said...

I want to go back the the bike with the banana seat and basket where I put my barbie dolls! It has just been that kind of week around here. But of course I need to jump on my big girl bike and ride the hill. Thanks for the great post today Susan!! On my post tomorrow I am asking for opinions on The Shack. I read it and liked it but I am hearing different opinions. Let me know what you thought if you get a chance.

Oh, and by the way. My camera is just an ordinary Kodak Easy Share Z710. Nothing fancy but it takes pretty good pictures!

Enjoy the weekend.....