"Life is like riding a bicycle: to keep your balance, you must keep moving."
I loved this when I saw it this weekend on a trip with my mom and some other ladies in Berlin, OH (Amish country).
There are times in my life, when I need my training wheels, when I need someone, God, a friend, a family member to hold me up and keep me balanced. But when the training wheels are to come off, I need to keep moving or I will tip over. If I'm too afraid to start, I will never get anywhere. If I'm too afraid of where I'm "supposed" to go, I'll never get there.
We all have seasons in life, and I feel like right now, I'm starting to get back my confidence and trying to not rely on the crutch of my training wheels. In my spiritual life, I have been agonizing over my lack of prayer, my lack of discipline. I wonder about the "right" way to do it. I worry about going the wrong direction and relying too much on my own power and getting into a accident because I went the wrong way. I forget that the "wrong choices" can often be teaching moments and point me to turn around into the right direction. Sure, it'd be better to avoid them, but if I'm not moving because I'm afraid to fail, I've failed before I've even started.
In a way, it's better for us to see God as a parent who wants us to always come to them in all situations like a child. But God also wants us to be able to ride that bike without needing their hand on the back seat. To be sure, God is never far in case of trouble and to cheer us on, but perhaps we need to have more confidence in ourselves, in our God-given ability to make good choices and to do good things? This does not mean that we don't need God desperately, it just means that like recognizing a health practitioner's God-given talents to heal, perhaps we need to see those qualities in us and trust them as though they were the words of God saying, "do this," ?
So for me, right now, I'm finding this "keep moving" mantra to be very helpful. God is good about letting me know when I need to turn around or avoid a pothole or go in a different direction when we need to, it's the staying still that keeps us from moving or growing. Or not getting back up when we do fall down. I think that is often how our faith plays out: moving forward in confidence that God has our back as we keep going, keeping open to new directions as they present themselves and listening for God's voice if we do need to go in a different direction.
I do think it's also dangerous to be puffed up and think we are beyond God's help or guidance or rest. This in itself is a balancing act. Gratitude is the key: it's where we take our own efforts and bring it back to God as the source of our abilities. When we live in gratitude and humility, it becomes less about what we are doing and how we are doing it, and more about enjoying the experience in the moment. When I've ridden my bicycle, there are times when I'm too focused on the destination and technique and time that cause me grief and frustration, or there are those enthralling moments when the wind is in my hair and I feel free and overwhelming gratitude. I think that latter example is how God wants us to enjoy and experience life. Not that all is daisies, but gratitude, when it also applies to the hard stuff in life, is a powerful thing that can drastically change our outlook on a situation. We keep moving, but we keep moving in gratitude and awareness.
Just keep moving, y'all.
EDIT: I realize that this post is almost counter to other posts I've made and maybe swinging more on the Free Will end of things (here's another post where I talk about that paradox of being). I'm not sure how to square these two realities: that I need God to even breathe, but I have been given Free Will too and I have a sort of power on my own, limited though it may be. I feel right now that I'm more on the side of the pendulum that says to "move" and "act" and be confident in the abilities God already gave me. Also, there is my relationship I have with God...I do believe that sharing life with God and recognizing the "God things" is more the point of our faith anyway. It's not really about doing great spiritual things, it's about growing closer to the heart of the Creator of the Universe. The action and gratitude can then come naturally out of that relationship.