Dear Families and Friends:
“Whatever goes up, must come down.”
I have recently gotten into biking. No, I don’t mean riding a motorcycle (that would be a site to see), but rather cycling. And the saying above is one that I have had to tell myself a lot lately as I ride.
As much as I have enjoyed my newfound hobby, there are times during the ride that I simply want to stop and throw in the towel. There are moments, particularly when riding up long hills, when I allow lies to creep into my mind that I can’t do it…that I’m not strong enough…that I don’t have it inside of me to get to the top.
But when I block out those lies and tell myself I can do it…that I am strong enough…that I do have it inside of me…then I push through those hard moments and make it one step closer to the finish. And when I finally conquer that hill, I often pause there and look back to reflect on where I have been and what I have overcome.
It also provides me a moment to look ahead at what challenges I have in front of me and where I am going…that is, of course, until another hill obstructs my view. Then, I get back on my bike, and I keep on going, keep on pedaling, and keep on pushing through the next hill…then the next hill…then the next hill.
After my most recent ride, I realized how much cycling is like life. Often times pedaling as hard as I can, but feeling like I am making little progress. Similarly in life, working, striving, or pushing through the hard moments and sometimes feeling like the effort is insignificant. But then eventually realizing, because of hard work, because of perseverance, and because of belief in myself, I was able to accomplish something.
Then, there are other times, when I am coasting down hill on the bike, putting forth little effort and allowing gravity to do the work for me. Kind of like in life, when everything seems to be going my way. That is, until another hill comes along.
It seems like recently, our society has been faced with a lot of hills…in fact, this season of life kind of feels like one big hill. A lot of challenges, a lot of obstacles, and a lot of uphill battles.
But throughout everything we have endured recently, one thing is clear: the teachings of Jesus are resoundingly needed. While I recognize it is not something that everyone in our society accepts, His truth is the remedy for many of the challenges we are facing today.
One of my favorite chapters of the Bible is Romans 12 which is a testament to how we ought to live. Never before in my life have I found this to be more needed than today. And as I think about the struggles our society faces today, can you imagine if all lived by these commands: “Do not conform to the patterns of this world…” (v2); “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought…” (v3); “Hate what is evil, cling to what is good…” (v9); “Honor one another above yourselves…” (v10); “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (v12); “Bless those who persecute you; bless do not curse.” (v14); “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.” (v15); “Live in harmony with one another…” (v16); “Do not repay evil for evil…” (v17); “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (v21).
In an age where it is hard to see beyond the next hill, may we all strive to follow the words of Paul he so clearly outlined in Romans 12. May we mourn with the mourning and rejoice with the rejoicing. May we uphold the weak and delight with the strong. May we not dismiss the feelings of the hurting, but hurt along with them. May we all realize that change starts with evaluating our own heart and sometimes, becoming uncomfortable and having to ask ourselves tough questions.
Because after all, even though riding downhill on my bike sure feels comfortable, I’m not actually making any effort in my attempt to become stronger. Instead, it’s the uphill battles I face that challenge me to be better, to do better, to become stronger, and essentially make the change in myself that I want to see.
So, my challenge for all of us this month…a month in which our freedom and independence as a county is celebrated… is to do better, to be better, to become stronger.
And when we reach the top of that hill, what a view it’s going to be.
Remember, you can do hard things.
Until next time,