Monday, July 24, 2017

Lose the Training Wheels

We have been trying to encourage my 5 year old daughter to ride her bike without training wheels.

She is completely ready to go. She has her own girly purple bike, not her older brother's hand-me-down. It has white wheels and glitter in the paint. She has a ridiculously bright, rainbow colored helmet. Oh yeah, it is the head of a unicorn, complete with horn and mane. Mom and Dad have both offered to help her. We have a nice stretch of grass for her to learn on so her falls will be cushioned. The scene is set.  There is just one problem.

She is scared of falling. 

The one time she actually let me work with her a little bit, I could sense that she could figure it out rather quickly. The thing about learning to ride a bike is that it is just something that you have to feel. You cannot tell someone how to balance on the two wheels. She just needs to try it and figure it out for herself.

I told her that she could do it, she was capable, but she would probably fall a few times until she got the hang of it. No good. Not interested. If I will be letting go of the seat, she will not be trying to ride.

Because of her fear, she is missing out on the freedom of riding alone on two wheels. Let's face it, as well-intentioned as training wheels are, you just can't go as fast as you could without them. She has seen the other side too. Her brother whizzes past her every time we go for a ride, even if she has a head start. Still, the fear makes her feel that she is content to make a go of it slowly and safely, with the support of her training wheels. 

We adults shake our heads at these nervous little ones. We know that they would have so much more fun if they just gave it a try. But are we any different?

Is there something you feel called to do? Do you sense God leading you in an area, but you are scared to try? 

Maybe you feel called to share your faith with your co-worker, but you are too nervous. I mean, what would they think? Would they be insulted?

Maybe you feel led to bring a meal to a friend that is going through a trying time, but you worry about their reaction. Would you be overstepping?

Or maybe there is something big that God wants you to try, but you are too afraid of falling, of failing?

God is our Father. Even though He's in Heaven, He is encouraging us to try. He's cheering us on. He has prepared us. We have been given gifts and talents that we are to use for His glory, to serve others as He calls us. The scene has been set for you. God has called.

There comes a time, though, when we just have to do it. We have to take the training wheels off and go for it. 

But even though parents would do anything to keep our children safe, we know that they might fall once we let go. We have to let go, though, so they can experience the freedom and joy of riding on their own.

This is where it's a little different with God (Hallelujah!). We have to take that first step in faith, not knowing what might happen, not knowing if we will fall, but He never leaves us or lets go.

He gives us this promise:
"So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you" Deuteronomy 31:6.
Folks, just like we want our children to experience more, like riding their bike without training wheels, God wants us to experience an abundant life. In serving Him, in stepping out in faith and doing what He calls us to do, we will experience that joy, that excitement, that fulfillment.

I have something I'm nervous to do. I'm afraid of what others might say or think. But God has placed something on my heart. I think I have been training for it my whole life. I think I am as prepared as I can be. It's time. Throw off those slow wheels on either side. It's time to ride off into the wind, pedal my legs fast, and go for it. 

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