CRASH! I took off running across the street. Everything had been going so well. The kids were riding bicycles in the street with neighbor friends. I was trying my best to foster independence in them and not hover over this activity, even though at 4 and 6 I still don’t trust them riding in the street. I was just out of sight on the front porch, watching them from behind the bushes and scanning the street for cars.
Then I heard the crash and saw my little boy tumble off his bicycle. He had ridden at full speed, straight into a parked car. I’m usually the mom who says “get back up, shake it off” when my kids gets scrapes and little boo boos, but this sounded bad. I took off running across the street to see how badly he was hurt.
Thankfully, he was wearing a helmet and had only some minor scrapes. The bike came away with a few dings, but no apparent dents on the car. He was lucky this time.
As part of the safety lesson that followed, I suggested he try riding slower, especially around the cars. He replied, “Mommy, my bike only has one speed – FAST!” Never has there been a truer statement about this boy. He doesn’t seem to know the meaning of slow; only full steam ahead.
Don’t we often use similar excuses in our lives? We live our lives in single speed, not fully using or appreciating all the speeds we’ve been given.
Our life is a 10-speed bicycle, but too often we only ride in one gear.
My “bicycle” only has a BUSY speed. Most days I don’t sit still until I go to bed at night. Rushing in the morning to get everyone fed, dressed and off to school. Then a full day at work. In the evenings, it’s playing with the kids, helping with homework, going to various sports practices, keeping up with chores.
I find myself using “I’m busy” as my go-to excuse. I get so caught up in the “doing,” that I don’t make time for the “being.”
Recently I caught myself getting hyper-focused on my to-do list, all the ideas I have for things to do, all the next steps I’m planning to take. Then I realized I hadn’t taken time to check in with God about any of these plans. Are these really in line with His plans for my life, where He’s calling me? I’ve been so focused on the “doing” that I’ve let my time with Him take a backseat.
It happens with the kids, too. “No, I can’t play a game right now. Can’t you see I’m busy cleaning the kitchen, answering some work emails, paying bills?”
Does your bicycle, your life, have only one speed? What is it? Busy, sick, tired, grieving? What is it that keeps you from using the other speeds? Spending quality time with loved ones? Checking that you’re on the right path? Accomplishing the items on your to-do list? Taking caution that you’re not about to run your life into a brick wall (or parked car)?
Father, Help us live into the full richness of this life you’ve given us. We weren’t made to operate at only one speed, whether fast or slow. You made us more complex than that. Help us identify our excuses and set them aside so we can take time to sit still with You, then get busy with tasks You lay before us. Some to be addressed with fast or busy urgency and others tackled with slow and steady focus. Help us know when to speed up and when to slow down and take caution. Amen.
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