It seems to me that all my life I have owned and ridden a bike. They may have changed in terms of size and power but they have always been there, and the concepts of steering, peddling and stopping are second nature. I am equally comfortable on a racing bike, a mountain bike or a motor bike, so when the opportunity came up last weekend to do some mountain bike riding I was wrapped, and enthusiastically enlisted my wife and son to be involved, what a great family outing! Well that was the plan, but the reality was a little different. The track was not in a very good condition, there were big ruts and bumps, steep ups and downs, sand and boulders to negotiate with a consistent upward grade on the way out. While I was having fun doing what came naturally, my young and beautiful wife was struggling, trying to juggle steering, gears, peddling and stopping!
Maybe that is a picture of your life? While others are just cruising through having fun, you are hard pushed to cope with the basics, feeling that you are continually getting left behind, and coming to grief on obstacles that others don’t even notice! What do you do? How do you cope? Seems to me that there are just five things you need to do or work on:
1. Balance! My wife might disagree but to balance and to steer effectively you need to be moving! Trying to opt out of life to try to get things back in balance does not work either, you need to stay involved, persevering, moving forward and it will happen. Giving up and getting off your bike is not the answer!
2. Insight! To succeed you need to overcome your own fears and be realistic about your limitations. When you feel overwhelmed, break it down into bite sized pieces. Leave the gears alone, get the steering sorted out and then the brakes. Lack of specific skills does not undermine WHO you are!
3. Knowledge! Life is an ongoing learning process, and some lessons will take longer than others, especially if some essential building blocks are missing from your childhood. Acknowledge that it may take a few spills before it all comes together, and some lessons cannot be learned in a classroom!
4. Encouragement! There are people around who are trying to encourage you, the majority are not being sarcastic they really mean it – so accept it graciously with their helpful hints. We all have different gifts and abilities, maybe this experience will show you how to encourage others in areas you have mastered.
5. Self Talk! You CAN do it, keep telling yourself and see your confidence increase. Refuse to accept the lie that says it is impossible and keep getting back on the bike. Life is difficult, there will continue to be challenges, but keep reminding yourself that you are not alone, you can do it and the reward will be worth the effort.
We all survived the day and I think that my wife might even be looking forward to our next mountain biking expedition. Your life might be hard going at the moment but you can survive and even flourish if you can apply these principles. So get back on your bike and just do it!
Chaplain Ian Whitley