I learned to ride a bike when I was five.
I’d be on that bike every chance I could get. Back in the day, it was safer to ride around neighborhoods. Explore places I hadn’t been on foot. Not be afraid of vacant lots or railroad tracks.
The older I’ve gotten, the less I’ve ridden. Not from lack of desire. In Florida, where the challenge is the sweat, it’s just not the same.
While on our family vacation, most everyone decided it would be great fun to go mountain biking. As in up steep inclines.
I was all for it. I don’t back down from a good challenge. I may be short, but I’m sturdy.
Fifteen of us began the trek. Susan, the gal at the bike rental place, said it was an easy cruise.
She did say, however, that she didn’t think we’d make it up Swan Mountain. She encouraged us to avoid that route.
There were those who’d had experience biking in the higher climes of Colorado. They shot out at the beginning, staying ahead of the pack. The rest of us followed along, breathing as if we’d just topped Mt. Everest.
The ride was beautiful. The breeze refreshed us, the sun making everything brilliantly clear. We’d gone up a variety of inclines that had us switching to lower gears, puffing and persevering. We got halfway around the trail and regathered to decide how to proceed.
I was feeling really great. I’d enjoyed what I’d thought were decent challenges. When the time came to vote, I opted for Swan Mountain. Why not? How bad could it be?
There was a reason we were encouraged not to try this.
There was a seven degree incline over two miles along the highway. Cars and motorcycles flying by. Too close for comfort.
Slow and steady, I kept telling myself. Just keep pedaling.
Halfway up the mountain, I couldn’t push the pedals anymore. I got off and walked. Got on and rode. Got off and walked.
I had no shame. I didn’t care what anyone thought. I could barely breath.
We all made it to the top, panting and proud. And began what we thought was the downward ride back.
Only to come upon another steep incline.
By the third steep incline, I couldn’t feel my legs.
This was more than a bike ride. It was a picture of how I want to live life.
I do well when I’m coasting. I’m confident when I can maneuver my way without a lot of difficulty.
But when the going gets tougher, I need Someone with me, Someone who’s pointing the way ahead. Telling me I can do it. Encouraging me not to quit.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Life was never meant to be lived on the flat plains, where you see and understand everything. I need those mountains to push me to my limits. See what I’m made of.
With God, I can crest those mountains.
It may not look pretty, but it’s a heck of a ride.
And I wouldn’t want to miss the scenery from up there for anything.
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