“We’re almost home. You are doing great! I think you’re going to make it all by yourself!” My famous last words hang ironically in the air as I jog beside my 4-year-old son riding his bike with unwavering determination and amazement at his newfound freedom. The words barely escape my mouth before I hear a clunk-clunk, followed by the whiz-whiz-whiz of my son peddling wildly, but going nowhere. To our dismay, we quickly realize that his chain fell off. I eat my words as I begin to push him the half-mile home.
Undeterred, my son continues to peddle and insists he can do it by himself. Despite it being a useless endeavor, he really struggles with the idea of not peddling. Doing things a different way did not make sense to him, so he did what he knew how to do. Eventually, he understands his previous modus operandi is just not working for him. So my ever-so-independent child hops off and tries to push his bike with increasing difficulty. After his heel gets repeatedly assaulted by his training wheel, he yields and reluctantly allows me to push him home.
“I got you, buddy. Just steer.”
‘Isn’t that just like God?’ I think to myself. We endlessly strive to try and control our situation, while God waits lovingly for us to submit and allow Him to move and work in our lives. We are not alone in this experience, friends. Maybe you can relate and we can all learn a lesson from my suddenly-stationary, little wheel-spinner.
Stop peddling. Maybe we continue to peddle because we don’t know any better. It reminds me of Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “trying to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” In our pursuit of fleeting, earthly peace apart from God, we imperfectly strive to control our feelings, behaviors, relationships, and environment. It is exhausting and impossible because God did not create us to be the Lord of our own lives.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no man can boast.” No amount of works will achieve salvation. No amount of striving will fill up the emptiness that only God can satisfy.
Let God Move You. When peddling doesn’t work, sometimes we still feel compelled to continue to take matters into our own hands. We end up running over our feet because it is awkward and clunky to push a bike with training wheels. It works better when we allow someone to push us from behind. When we surrender, we allow God’s power to move us forward, rather than our own.
When we surrender and allow Jesus to transform our hearts and minds, it becomes so much more than just knowing. God opens our eyes to a new perspective and calls us to a new way of being. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Prayerfully ask God how he can reveal specific areas of your life that you need to surrender and get a good push from behind.
Just Steer. At first, it can be pretty terrifying to realize that we have little control over our environment or circumstances. Over time, as we practice giving control over to God, we find exhilarating freedom from earthly striving.
But now that we let God push us, how do we know where to steer?
God gave us his Word so we can rest in his promises. When we hide God’s word in our hearts, we can confidently steer in the direction God clearly leads. Deuteronomy 11:18-19, 21 says, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds…Teach them to your children, talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road…so that your days and the days of your children may be many.” We already know the destination “home” through the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who restores us to a right relationship with him. Now it is up to us to surrender and allow God to direct our journey.
Where are you in your spiritual journey? Are you spinning your wheels or letting God push you? I’d love to hear your story!
Enjoying the ride,