Riding on the back of a motorcycle is a lot like life. You have to hold on tight, stay steady, keep your eyes forward and don’t panic. If you freak out and cause the bike to crash, not only will you cause serious injury to yourself and the driver, but also to everyone around you. It doesn’t matter how scared you are, just keep looking forward and hold on tight. Don’t make any sudden movements. Don’t start crying. Just breathe.
I rode on the back of John’s motorcycle during the Blessing of the Bikes at Kensington Church several years ago. John decided to sell his motorcycle that day. Not because I freaked out (because I didn’t), but because Michigan roads, and people who text and drive and don’t pay attention, could all too easily take him away from his family. Thankfully, we walked away unharmed that day, but we really didn’t enjoy the ride.
I wish I knew then what I learned on Labor Day 2019. It would have been a much more enjoyable ride. Josh Isenhardt spoke at Kensington Church on Labor Day and his message was called “One Thing“. He encouraged us to add one thing, one small habit, that would change our lives over the course of the next year. Here’s that message:
And here’s what I wrote to Josh 18 days later:
Hi Josh, I wanted to thank you for the message you gave Labor Day weekend at Kensington CT. “Discipline” is one of my top 5 strengths on Strengths Finder, so I couldn’t imagine what small habit I haven’t already incorporated into my life at 47 years old and 25 years following Jesus. So, as you walked off the stage and the band came up, I asked, “Lord, what’s my action step?” And clear as a bell I heard in my head, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” And then the band started singing “Jesus, I will trust you. I know you never fail”, which I took as confirmation that I heard Him correctly. So, since that day, every time I start to get anxious, even just a hint of anxiety, I repeat to myself, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” and it’s made such a big difference. I know I would have been in tears many times over the last 18 days, but because of that little sentence, He takes the fears away. Thanks so much!! -Beth
In Josh’s message, he recommended the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and I bought it. I’m about 1/2 way done, and it’s so good that I keep wanting to quote about every other page. Instead, I’ll just quote one thing and let you buy the book (or grab it from the library) and read it for yourself:
“Small changes often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold. The most powerful outcomes of any compounding process are delayed. You need to be patient.” – Atomic Habits by James Clear, Chapter 1 summary (pg 28)
We need to keep on keeping on. If we do, we will hit critical mass and we will break the plateau. But we have to keep moving forward. “3 steps forward, 2 steps back” actually works out to 4 or 5 steps back because we’re erasing the power of compounding. Think of it like taking money out of your IRA instead of keeping the money there and letting the interest compound.
Beth Moore’s 2019 Simulcast, called “Strong Sisters” was on September 28th. If you know Beth, you know she had a whole lot to say that day, but one thing really stood out. I’ll paraphrase her:
“At what point will we stop doing what keeps un-doing us? … If we’re about to freak out again, are we grabbing hold of what Christ died to give us?”
“Who am I without my brokenness? I’m more comfortable in the prison that I know than the freedom that I don’t know that Christ offers me.”
I immediately asked myself that same question. Who am I without my brokenness? Who am I if I don’t freak out when I’m overwhelmed? What would it look like to be okay? To move on? To hold it together? To press on?
Last week the toilet overflowed twice in 12 hours. The only reason I wasn’t freaking out was because I kept repeating one thing over and over again, out loud, as I cleaned up the mess: “Thank you Jesus for indoor plumbing.”
When I woke up the other morning, this song was running through my head. I’m so thankful to Smile.FM for playing music that stays in your head and pops up at just the right time. Guess what the song is called?
Here I am
In a river of questions
Can I pour my heart out to a listening ear?
I see this life
Its valleys and mountains
And I think of all the roads that brought me here
I’ve questioned my reasons
The life I’m living
I’ve questioned my ability
To judge wrong from right
I’ve questioned all the things that I’ve ever called certain
My race, my religion, my country, my mind
But the one thing I don’t question is you
You really love me like you say you do
You really love me like you say you do
I’ve questioned significance
Meaning and relevance
Does the work I’m doing really matter at all?
Well I’ve questioned my friendships
Who will still be here when I fall?
Only one thing doesn’t change
Only one thing stays the same
All I know at the end of the day is your love remains
-Paul Colman, The One Thing
October 19th is my 48th birthday, but I’m no longer on Facebook, so I won’t be posting this there like I have for the last 5 years. It’s funny. I found that Facebook was one thing that I really didn’t need.
Jesus is my one thing. He doesn’t change. He stays the same. His love remains.