Do you remember when you learned to ride a bike? I vividly remember the day. I was riding the white and yellow banana seat bike, trying over and over to get my balance. My brother, Chris, was holding on to the back and trying to help me up and down the driveway of our Wanda Street house in Ammon, Idaho. I just couldn't seem to get the hang of it. I remember everyone leaving me out there alone. I was determined to get this bike-sans-training-wheels thing. In my mind I rode for hours trying on my own to get it. And finally, triumph! It was probably one of the first things I taught myself how to do. I nailed it and was in bike heaven.
On Saturday, my oldest son finally figured out how to ride his bike without training wheels. I worried all summer last summer that it might take many summers for Andrew to get the hang of this. He insisted that he didn't want his training wheels removed. But last week he got out his bike and asked my husband to raise up the training wheels. Within a few minutes he was ready for them to come off entirely. He took off like a pro! Oh man was he excited to show me his new trick.
Today he spent the whole afternoon after school riding his bike up and down our street. I let him venture a little further when he could show me he had a pretty good handle on using the brakes. He kept commenting on how much faster he could go with the training wheels off.
I thought a lot about how this is a great metaphor for our lives. Last summer, Andrew was too nervous to even try raising the training wheels, let alone remove them. It was always slow and steady, but wobbly, and predictable. I wanted for him to do what so many of his friends could do. I was anxious for him. But he wasn't ready.
When he was ready, he went for it and let go of the things that were holding him back. He still fell a few times, once pretty badly. But he got back up and flew down the road over and over.
I wonder what holds me back from experiencing all that the Lord has in store? Am I desperately holding on to training wheels, playing it it safe, unwilling to trust a little more fully. Do I see that the ride will be liberating, invigorating, enlivening. Do I see that the training wheels are actually holding me back. I can't move with the same speed and agility. I can't go to nearly as many places and maneuver with the same dexterity. What are these spiritual training wheels I "need" to hang on to? When will I have the courage to let them go?
As I ponder on that, I get to enjoy seeing my seven year old discover the new found joy that comes from having courage, working hard, and trusting himself. He's going to have a great summer on that bike, I can see it already!