lessons in riding: what is your focus?

photo Russ & I have recently picked up a new hobby - bicycling. I can't very well say "cycling" because, well, we just aren't that handy on our bikes yet.

At least I'm not.

You know how they say you never forget how to ride your bike? That's a lie. I mean, I know how to stay on - I know how to pedal and balance - but put me on a trail with other people running AT me and BY me and PAST me and well...I get frantic.

Not to mention the bruises. Oh the bruises. Last week, I was too busy fixing my gears, and trying to see Russ, that I wasn't paying attention to my feet. One of them slipped off the pedal & my calf jammed against the spiky grates spinning at about 10 mph. Doesn't seem very fast until it hits you - and I still have the bruise. I also have the bruised knuckle from jamming it against the break, and the bruised ankle from miscalculating the kickstand.

Like I said. You forget these things.

But. I love it! I've had so much fun riding Susan (that's my bike) and relearning all of those "tricks" we thought were so cool back in the day. Speeding down hill with no hands on the handlebar, standing up & feeling the wind rush your face....it's exhilarating. And up until today - Russ & I have only been riding around our apartment. You know...to get back in swing of things.

So, today Russ & I decided to head down to Town Lake and make use of the hike & bike trail.

It was...magnificent.

These past couple of months have been pretty hectic. And it's summer. Normally my summers are...free of stress. However, this one has been almost complete opposite. New city. New apartment. New responsibilities. New friends. Those things are great. It's the other things that have me weighed down with worry.

Yesterday Russ got a phone call from Whole Foods. He's been in touch with them for the past couple of weeks, and despite his consistency, hasn't been able to talk to the head chef at this particular store. Last night was a breakthrough. A position opened up within the department, and they called wanting to know if he was interested in an interview. Um. Heck yes.

Of course, because he was in class, he missed the phone call & waited until this morning to call back. Turns out, this particular job was very specific on scheduling. Read: night time hours. Read: Russ isn't eligible for the position.

He hung up a bit disappointed but still hopeful, because the lady mentioned she was going to try & work something out & call him back. She called while we were riding. I bet you could guess what the verdict was. Just guess. Take a look at my posts these past couple of months and you see a theme emerge...

Read: Russ still wasn't eligible for the position.

We kept riding & eventually had to turn around & head back to our car. On the way, I noticed a little resting area with a bench & a stellar view. I stopped & told Russ I wanted to chill for awhile. The view was...breathtaking. Aside from the wind carrying the current, the lake was absolutely placid. I couldn't tear my eyes away.

It was almost as if I had sudden clarity. All of these rejections were here for a reason. If we believe we have everything, how can we ever be made whole by the ultimate Rescuer? If it were easy for me to find a job, if Russ was able to walk into any restaurant & they hired them on the spot - where would that leave our need for His guidance? Slowly the panic eased, slowly my heart began to trust...I found myself resting in Him & His promises.

***

Did you know in biking, there's a trick to making sharp turns? Just like any other sport where you turn or flip or pivot, you need to be focused. Keeping your sight on where you want to be prevents the likelihood of you crashing. Gymnasts do it on the balance beam & floor routine. Ice skaters do it in their triple & quadruple twists & turns in the air. Even football players do it in running the ball. I struggled with this for awhile. We have this steep incline in our apartment complex that Russ & I love to make use of at night. Talk about reliving old memories! Speeding down that hill you get flashbacks of elementary school & cards stuck in wheels & make shift tassels out of pom-pom pieces.

But...at the bottom of the hill is a short turn-around. I could never make it. I always had to break, stop my bike, and slowly maneuver myself until I could clamor up the hill - my gears protesting the whole climb. It never occurred to me to watch where I was going. You know...basic knowledge. Had I watched & paid attention & focused...it wouldn't be as difficult. The climb up wouldn't be so painful because the momentum from speeding downhill would propel me forward.

In Psalms 119 it reads: I'm single minded in pursuit of you; don't let me miss the road signs you've posted. (v.10)

I wonder how many road signs I've missed.

I wonder...while being so wrapped up in my own fears of falling...how many opportunities I have let slip by unnoticed.

I'm not perfect. And this whole trusting God thing? It's a continual reminder of how imperfect I am. I get caught in the gravel of life & I forget to keep my eyes focused on where I am going. Suddenly, I'm stuck. Suddenly, I need rescue.

And He's always there. Helping me get back on my feet, reminding me to trust Him, revealing His mercy & grace while I trudge back up the hill...

***

I'm no pro at bicycling - I have a lot to learn. Just like I have a lot to learn and remember about my relationship with Christ. But today, in the middle of humidity shattered by a cool breeze, I was reminded of something. God's got me. And on the trails of life, there's no better insurance than knowing you're covered by His love.

Posted on August 6, 2009 .