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I ride my bicycle to commune with God; the exercise is icing on the cake. Our conversations are most often about people He has me praying for, conversations I need to have with others, or lessons we are preparing to write or teach. Every once in a while, God uses the ride to show me something about myself and/or His kingdom.

Here’s one from the other day.

Distractions are a big part of cycling – passing cars and approaching dogs in particular. Most are not a threat, but it only takes one. Having to deal with them on a regular basis has taught me to allow distraction when necessary, and then get back to matter at hand. It has become a natural part of the process.

I wish I could say the same about hills.

Hills are different than cars and dogs. They don’t generate the same adrenaline spike as a ferocious dog on the loose or a driver passing on a hill. In fact, they don’t scare me at all. On the other hand, they last longer, the distress builds over time, and the distraction is real and present discomfort and pain.

Hills are a major distraction to my communion with God.

For me, hills are a metaphor for the challenging seasons of our lives. These may be momentary, lengthy, or any amount of time in between. God has used the hills in my life to reveal a few things about myself and my relationship with Him:

  1. The more I focus on the pain, the greater the pain becomes.
  2. When I set my mind on things above, the hill is not only less of a distraction, but easier to navigate.
  3. The approach I take has a dramatically positive effect on my mental and physical response to the effort after cresting the hill.
  4. It occurs to me as I write this that having a riding partner to remind me of these things – and encourage me in them during the climb – would be an incredible blessing.

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God has blessed me with the desire and health to ride a bicycle. Cycling is not only a great way to stay healthy; it is also a fantastic way to meet with God. Exercise, being outdoors and communing with the Creator – what better way to spend a couple of hours?

Cycling is a joy to me. So, when I get the chance, I like to share that joy with others – helping them learn to ride. In the process, I have learned that learning to ride is a transformative experience.

  1. You must get over your fear of riding. Whether you are just learning, or venturing out on more trafficked roadways, fear will take the fun out of cycling. In fact, fear is a distraction that can make your ride less safe.
  2. You must learn, not only how the bike works, but how it works for you. Get caught in the wrong gear while climbing a steep hill will leave you walking. Shifting in anticipation of a change in terrain will become natural over time – but only with practice.
  3. You must trust your bike to get you home. A bicycle is meant to take you places – new places. Time spent on the bike builds trust in its dependability.
  4. Going with others is more fun; and it is safer. Finding a good riding partner – or better yet, a group – simply makes cycling a more enjoyable experience. As it is with most activities, there is safety in numbers.
  5. The more you ride, the stronger you will be; and the farther you will be able to venture out. The only way to get cycling strong is to cycle. The reward is an expansion of adventure possibilities.

I think it is fair to say that the kingdom of God is like learning to ride a bicycle. When God calls us to a new assignment (and He does so more often than we realize), the Holy Spirit commits Himself to our transformation. He becomes our cycling coach.

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