Thursday, August 4, 2011

When home is on a hill

Romans 5:3-4 (AMP) Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of [a]character (approved faith and [b]tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] [c]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
Galatians 6:9 (AMP) And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.
Hebrews 10:36 (AMP) For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and [a]carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.
James 1:3-4 (AMP) Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

I haven’t been able to
ride my bicycle for almost a year now. As a result I am not as fit as I used to be. I’ve decided to start off easy and gradually work my way up.

For starters I’m riding out towards the high school that is around 3 miles outside of the county that we live in. It sounds funny but I’m basically riding from shade to shade: the shade of the last trees as I head out on the open road to the shade of the tree in the church garden across from the school. There I catch a quick breath and a drink of water before I head back. As my fitness level increase I am planning to cycle further and further before turning back and heading home.

In my opinion heading out to the school is more of an uphill so in my mind this should effectively be the tougher part of the ride, right, whereas on the way back it should then be more downhill and a very welcome little reward (if you will) for all my hard work.

The past few mornings it hasn’t quite worked out that way. I’ve had to ride into the wind and it has made the downhill feel like an uphill instead. When you are more tired and less comfortable you want to start feeling some relief or reward rather than a greater challenge – that’s true for me anyway. I have considered my options: walking wasn’t one of them, neither is staying home, and the wind doesn’t obey my commands. Pressing on in the face of opposition seemed to be the only one left.

I was wondering why I don’t see a leaf move when I peak out of the window in the morning. It is because we are sheltered (to an extent at least) by the buildings and large trees in the suburban area but once you leave the ‘safety’ of the county there is nothing but wide, open spaces; nothing to hide behind or under.

I’ve recently decided to make some changes to my life. I wouldn’t consider it big changes but I think that it ultimately – and collectively - it could bring about big consequences – naturally for the better. Entertaining some of the habits has turned out to be a bit of an uphill ride and deciding to change is a little like making a u-turn and heading back home – a place where things work well and I like the results. I’ve tried a few new things and not all of it worked too well, so I’m changing a few of those.

I feel a little like I was expecting a bit more of a downhill ride but instead I’m finding I have to be quite determined to stick to my guns. In some ways it feels like doing these small things are so challenging, almost as if something is trying to prevent me from succeeding, but I’ve made up my mind: I’m peddling on in the face of opposition and I’m going to make it home!

There’s a few things to remember when we want to make changes to our lives.
The first thing when you’re deciding about making a change or pursuing a dream is that you will usually not see the obstacles you’re going to encounter when you peak out of the window of your comfort zone just like I don’t really see that the wind is blowing looking out of the window of my house. In your comfort zone you are protected by elements that have made it a pleasant place to be, a safe place. That is why you’ve been there for as long as you have. So be prepared that there will be some upsetting elements once you step out. However, they are probably not insurmountable even if they are tough. The attitude you choose to have about it will determine your experience of them and your outcome on the other side of them.

The second thing is that throwing a bike down in the middle of nowhere does not get you home. When you find yourself riding into the wind – when challenges threaten to stop your goal or dream in its tracks – it is not a time to quit. Rather it is a time to push back. It is time to find out just how badly you want what you want.

Personally I believe that there are times when you don’t smile while you’re doing something, but getting it done is more important. The reality is that just like you feel more tired at 8, 9 and 10 of 10 miles you’ll also feel more tired, and consequently more challenged, the closer you get to your breakthrough, but that “100 meter sprint to the finish line” could determine the winner, so keep going! You’re not home till you’ve parked in the drive way.

The third thing to remember: When things just don’t seem to work out no matter what you try remind yourself of this: the middle of nowhere is just that – in the middle. The middle of the place you’ve left and the place where you’re going! If you keep moving forward you will reach where you’re going to, so keep moving!
The fourth thing: Every challenge that you go through will make you stronger if you choose to go through. Everything becomes easier the more you do it and before you know it what used to be an uphill is a hill no more.

This reminds me of when I just started cycling. I thought I’d start real easy and just cover two or three blocks around my house. There was one particular spot where I thought I was going to drop dead. I remember actually getting off the bike and pushing it to the top of the hill. A few weeks later I went back to that spot just for old time sake. I circled it for almost three quarter of an hour looking for the hill that I had to walk to the top and couldn’t find it anywhere. Only to realize that I’ve been cycling it repeatedly all along and didn’t know it. It was a “hill” no more!! Haha

And lastly, as you become fitter (whether physical or spiritual) you become more able to enjoy the scenery, as well as go places that you’ve never been before; places you would never be able to see if you did not become strong and able.

A good friend (and fellow cyclist) once told me, “For every uphill there’s a downhill.” So the next time you’re riding an uphill or a downhill into the wind remind yourself where you’re going and keep going!!


Cindy said...

A good message Lee, keep going :)

Liane said...

Thank you, Cindy :) And thank you for taking the time to share your thought on here. I really appreciate it!