I forgot how to ride a bike.
Which really isn’t a problem, except I didn’t know I had forgotten until I was on the bike and going straight towards a tree, unable to stop.
It wouldn’t sound so bad if I were five or seven or even twelve but no – I was nineteen.
Picture it, that college freshman version of me on a green bike. It was a sunny afternoon and after begging friends to ride on the trail across from campus, my roommate finally gave into my pleading and we set off for an adventure.
We didn’t know where we would go or how long we would ride – we just went.
I guarantee she looks back on that decision with much laughter and a huge smile because boy did I provide some great entertainment.
It started out well, naturally. Across the street and over the bridge and then a sharp left turn to go down the incline and begin riding the trail.
There was just one little problem . . . the brakes on my bike didn’t work. We didn’t know that either until it was, you guessed it, too late.
With the wind in my hair I heard my own voice shrieking “I can’t stop! It won’t slow down! What do I do?!” Within 1.73 seconds my mind exhausted all possible options:
Jump off! No, that would obviously hurt.
Round the next bend and pray for dear life you don’t tip! Tempting, but I have no balance and will surely fall off.
Run into that tree! Dude no way – there’s an entire baseball team on the other side of the fence and they’ll see me!
I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes; I saw a series of unappealing choices. But I had to decide and as my roommate turned to watch, yelling for me to slow down and use the brakes, I flew into the tree yelling “there aren’t any brakes!”
It’s okay, you can go ahead and laugh.
As I pulled myself out of the tree and assessed the damage, the only thing that really hurt was my pride. My roommate was doubled over laughing and the entire baseball team had turned to stare at the college student that ran straight into a tree.
It was mortifying and I wanted to give a piece of my mind to the girl who had rented me the bike but the only option was to get back on and keep going.
Climbing back on, we rode miles and miles all the way to Greensprings and back laughing and remember when-ing what had just happened. There was no chance of playing it off or salvaging any bit of dignity, so I gave into the laughter.
I’m the girl who ran into the tree on a bike because she forgot that spinning backwards will slow down a bike. Oops?
But I’m also the girl who got back on and kept riding.
And I’d bet money on the fact that you’ve been both versions, too. You’ve run into roadblocks and challenges and had to make impossible choices knowing that all outcomes will be painful. You’ve lost pieces of your dignity and had to face the crowd feeling vulnerable and uncovered.
But you’re also the one that kept on going. You brushed yourself off and made the choice to laugh and find the joy in the ridiculousness of it all. You’ve faced the crowd with your head held high and lived to tell the tale.
It really has nothing to do with a bike or a tree, it’s about running your own race and the choice to keep. on. going. when it would be easier to turn around and go home.
Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running – and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God. Hebrews 12:1-2, The Message
It would be a shame to give up and we all know it. But it would also be a shame to make the choice to press on only to live in the memory of the tree and the stares or to wish you had someone else’s bike.
We don’t need another person denying her story in favor of living another’s.
We don’t need another story to go untold because of doubts or swirling thoughts that someone else’s is bigger, better, funnier, more interesting, or sure to make a greater impact.
Sound familiar? I’ve got to believe I’m not the only one that hears those lies inside.
I’m gonna have to stop us both right there, though, because I’ve heard enough of the Not Enoughs and I’m dusting the dirt off, climbing on the bike, and focusing on the Alreadys.
The story of your life is yours alone and if you don’t live it, no one else will.
Every day you choose to leave an after of love or open up your mouth to tell the truth of what’s going on, you share a chapter with us.
Your one wild and beautiful life is the story of your days and we need it something fierce.
But we need you to fiercely love it, too.
Turn your eyes from the stares or the stats of others and choose to pick yourself back up and ride.
You’ve got a story to live.
I’m joining this week with several women I admire, offering encouragement and telling His Story through the words live your story. Feel free to join the link-ups at Holley’s, Jennifer’s, Beth’s, and Holly’s each Wednesday morning.