Cyndi recently hosted her 2016 Gran Camp, which means our granddaughters stayed at our house for a week. Cyndi’s best friend, Patti, has two grandsons that are almost the same age, so they work hard to plan fun days for all four kids.
On this year’s agenda for the older two was learning to ride two-wheeled bicycles, and it was great fun to see them conquer something that will stay with them their entire lives. Watching Madden and Cason learn to ride their two-wheelers reminded me of lessons I’d forgotten I’d learned.
For example? Like all bicycle riders I had to learn to balance. And like Madden and Cason I learned balance comes with forward motion. You have to keep moving if you want to stay upright. It’s almost impossible to balance on a bicycle unless you are moving forward, and moving forward with some minimal speed.
When first learning to ride there is a tendency to freeze up and stop pedaling when you get nervous or scared. You have to learn to keep pedaling anyway. It isn’t intuitive. You just have to act, in spite of your fears
It isn’t true only for cycling. I recently read a story by Shauna Niequist, about teaching someone paddle boarding. Her friend said, “I can stand up, but then I can’t get stable, and I can’t start paddling till I get stable.” She was doing exactly the wrong thing because she was afraid to stand up and paddle.
Niequist wrote: It’s the paddling that keeps you on the board. It’s the forward motion that gives you the stability you need. Sometimes we just have to pick a direction and start pulling that paddle through the water, and along the way we’ll get the stability and confidence we’re looking for.
And it isn’t true only for cycling or paddle boarding; it’s true in almost all of life. How often do we freeze up when we get scared? Our intuition tells us to slow down, even stop, gather our wits, think about what’s next, build up courage … when what we really need to do is keep moving, maybe even speed up.
I don’t mean we should always act out of impulse, never slowing to analyze or learn new techniques. But as for me, my tendency is to over-think, over-plan, over-research, build one more spreadsheet, make one more check-list, spend one more evening searching online for answers. I am Marlin, not Dory.
Why is it so hard to keep moving?
Because we never feel totally ready. Our plans are never perfectly formed. We never have the money we think we need or the support we wish we had. We never feel as strong and prepared as everyone else seems to be.
That’s just the way life is for everyone, especially when regarding major life decisions. We’ll never be ready to move forward when God calls. It will always be a surprise, maybe even a jolt. Even for things we think we’ve prepared for, like getting married, or having a first child, or buying a home, we learn two days in we had no idea what we were getting into and, of course, we aren’t ready.
No one has every last thing they need. We all want to slow down to consider. But the people who change lives, the people who make beautiful things, the people who make a difference in our world – they’re the people who keep paddling, who keep peddling, who keep moving.
Are you losing your balance today because you’ve stopped moving forward? Keep pedaling; maybe even pick up speed.