Archive for November, 2011

Gearing up with God

Resurrected from the crevices of the garage, my husband breathed life back into my bike with a hefty dusting and an air pump.  Suffering from a knee injury, I needed another method to continue my training for an upcoming event.  And so, my old, decrepit bike seemed like the best candidate for a non-weight bearing exercise. 

As I took off on my first ride, I heard uncomfortable sounds eeking from my brakes.  Worse yet, nothingness emerged from my gear shifters.  The bike was stuck in one gear.  But, with limited options I would have to make the best of it.  At least I was moving.  It proved to be an interesting ride with periods of extreme pedaling followed by coasting as I traversed up and down hills… still in the same gear.

Two days later, much to my surprise and delight, my husband brought home a new-to-me bike he’d found on Craig’s List – in a completely functioning state.  Gears shifted smoothly.  Brakes gripped without ear piercing screams.  A soft cushy seat supported my frame.  Shocks absorbed.  Tires spun.  I shifted to higher gears to ease the climb of the hills while down shifting to maximize my effort and speed going downhill.  It was a coordinated effort much different than my previous rides. 

I felt power and victory.  OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. But, it really was a much improved workout and ride.  And, as I rode early that morning, I made mental notes of the differences and couldn’t help but see the connections to life.

I survived my rides on the old bike with broken gears.  But I felt broken, and as if I was wasting unnecessary energy.  I literally felt like I was spinning my wheels sometimes – or in my case, just the pedals because I couldn’t switch to a lower a gear.  I certainly wasn’t being efficient.  The climbs were harder and I lost traction on the downhill portion.  That’s how I feel when I try to do life alone… without God’s help.  I pedal, pedal, pedal yet exhaust myself going through the motions.  I make things harder for myself.  I struggle with the climb and fail to experience His best when I’m cruising downhill.

However, when I invite God’s direction and wisdom in my life, the Holy Spirit steps in and acts as the gears.  He propels me forward.  He increases my efficiency and productivity.  He enhances and multiplies the outcome of my work and eases the difficult times.  It can still be a strenuous workout at times, but there’s sweet satisfaction.

When we live life in single gear – with ourselves in control – we miss out on God’s power.  The ride is so much more enjoyable when He’s energizing our journey.  Don’t settle for one gear.  Tap into Him and you may just find the ride of a lifetime.  As you do, I hope you enjoy the wind in your hair and the view along the way!

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.  Ephesians 3:16

Assumptions

My daughter broke the silence in the car as she commented, “That must be a grandparent car in front of us.”

“Why?” I inquired.

“Because it looks like they’ve had it a very long time and it’s moving really slow,” she replied.

Although she was using age appropriate reasoning and logic, I explained that there were some other possibilities to consider.  Perhaps it was a student, who could only afford an older-model car, and they were going so slow because we were in a school zone.  We really couldn’t know for sure.

As I later reflected on the conversation, I was happy that my daughter was exercising her reasoning skills.  But, I also realized how often we make assumptions about things and people.  Based on our observations, our past experiences, and our own belief systems, we draw conclusions.  And almost always, we only have part of the picture.  We view things through the lens of our own life and (sometimes distorted) perception. 

Assumptions can be dangerous, yet they are part of everyday life.  We are constantly processing information about our surroundings.  It’s how we reason and make decisions.  But, do we assume the worst or best in most circumstances?  Now that’s something to ponder.

If we’re going to make assumptions, let’s assume the best about others.  If someone treats us poorly, let’s extend grace and assume that they’re having a bad day, not that they’re a bad person. If someone cuts us off in traffic, let’s assume that it was an accident and they didn’t see us instead of thinking that they’re out to get us.  We’ll all lead happier lives when we choose to give someone else the benefit of the doubt.  Wouldn’t you want the same?

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT