Learning to Ride

Self-preservation is a powerful motivator.  This was very apparent over the Memorial Day weekend.  My two sons had not learned to ride their bikes.  This is in part due to my poor fathering skills.  Apparently, I lack some refinement in this area, but another reason is that crashing one’s bike is certainly a universal fear – that and waking up late for an important event.  Both will freeze you with fear.  My boys had fallen, cried and over-analyzed this whole ordeal.  They were reduced to rubble.  It was time for a change, and I was going to have to dig deep.

The anxiety surrounding this seemingly simple life skill was almost palpable.  The boys were not interested in my “motivational” speeches or reminders that I had never lead them into the “valley of the shadow of death.”  It was almost as if I was no longer the dad they trusted.  We were at an impasse. So I began to think through what could break the stalemate.  I was running on empty, so I thought let’s just try some unique encouragement and an idea from the wife.  She is full of ideas, and has proven her superiority in our little partnership, so what could it hurt?  So after a trip to Academy for knee and elbow pads on the advisement of my wife, and some role assignments for each of the two boys, we headed out to the church parking lot.  This was going to be either be my Waterloo or my shining moment in family lore.

So with one son in the bed of the truck offering (yelling) encouragement and pads fully utilized by the other, we attempted our maiden voyage.  The younger brother would go first.  With a simple push of the bike seat, he was off and peddling feverishly around the lot!  No tears, and no fatherly frustration (yelling).  The exact same events played out one day later with our oldest, except for one important detail.  After experiencing the success of his brother, he decided the pads were no longer necessary. We had two liberated little boys now wanting to peddle their way to Austin to see their grandparents. It was like they were meant to ride bikes.  Of course I knew this, but they needed to experience it.

You know, fear cripples Christians.  It not only disallows us to move forward into new areas of God’s provision and blessing, but it also dulls our memory of previous confidence builders. Fear almost thrusts us back to an ignorant and infantile place as Christians.  No one wants to live like this, so we look for anything to build ourselves up hoping that God isn’t the only answer to our angst.  We’re willing to wear goofy elbow and knee pads.  We will worry ourselves into settling for a life of impasse all the while thinking it has to be better than trying that something new for God.  You see, God is heartbroken when His children sit on the sidelines of life fearful of what could be.  He tries to remind and prod, but at the end of the day we have to get up and acknowledge that His plan is one “to prosper us not harm us.”  The church is truly strengthened and blessed when its individual members learn to move beyond their own fear-inducing behavior and trust God.  Our fellowship is sweeter and our impact broadened.  We are only as effective as the collection of our parts.

One lasting impression from that glorious weekend.  I wanted my boys to experience the thrill that riding a bike can bring.  I was hopeful for their childlike sense of freedom that would arrive.  But what I really wanted, to be honest, was a chance to ride with them.  This was my ultimate goal, selfish as it may have been.  God wants company!  He longs for His people and His church to raise the kickstand and take that next bend on the trail.  God wants us to journey with Him, and He wants Harris Creek to journey with Him.  Why not press on these days and seek God beyond our childish fears?  Could it be that we drop the games and awkward imitations of peace and pursue the bold plan God has for us as a body?

Let’s ride Harris Creek!

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