When one is being pushed outside of their comfort zone or is faced with situations they have not been in yet, they may want to retreat, to back off, to choose a different path and run as fast as they can in that direction. Out of fear many never know what their potential is, what they are capable of, and what the good Lord above has for them in the future. They fear the engine, the leader at the front with the strength and power to move things along. They choose to be the caboose, staying in the back, allowing others the lead position and not even attempting to fight for it, maybe staying stagnate. Heck, sometimes they choose not to follow altogether, throw in the towel, and go their own way.
Well, I was definitely one of those people this weekend. I not only feared the engine, but all 6 of them! As most were still sound asleep in their warm, comfy beds, I was headed down the road on two wheels for a chilly 6:30a.m. start at the usual meeting place, expecting the usual suspects. However, one by one a few more showed up, some of which were new faces to me. “Uh-oh” I thought. This could be bad, six strong, male cyclists and one female who is the self-described, “little engine that could.” Suddenly a solo ride out to jacks, at my pace, with no pressure, sounded pretty good to me. After all, I figured I would never be able to hang on their wheels, and would just slow them down. I most definitely feared all the “engines” straddling their bikes around me. I could have bailed easily at that moment, but then thought, “Well, if I can hang with them for a little, I can always cut off and go my own route, so what the heck.” Off we went, across the river and up the road, and I was already hanging on for dear life!
Do you ever feel that way with something in your life? Maybe you are being asked to do more, to be more, or to get involved and step it up? Maybe God is calling you to follow His will and to quit being still, but rather, push forward for His Kingdom and glory?
15 miles into the ride I was absolutely considering throwing in the towel, and I knew at some point I would get past the point of no return, unless of course I wanted to get lost. A stagnate caboose is one thing, a lost one is another! For about 10 more miles this was circulating in my mind, but I just kept on doing the best I could and pressing on. After all, it was kind of cool to be out with a “pack,” to have a sense that we were all working towards the same goal. Thank God for stop signs, because that is about the only time I could catch up, and then off we went again. I am pretty sure it was a beautiful day, but between trying to stay on the wheel in front of me and chasing them down hills (big, strong men go much faster downhill on a bike!), I was not noticing much of my surroundings.
There were a few kind souls that would make sure I was still back there and even slowed down until I could catch their wheel to pull me back to the group. As they said, “no one gets left behind.” Thanks guys! While they were recovering I was busting my butt to catch them, and once I did, turbo speed once again, so forget soft pedaling and forget water. There was no time for that!
Do you ever get weary from the journey that is life? Do you want to give up, throw in the towel, stop working so hard and not have to sacrifice for your job, your family, friends, or even God? The Bible says in Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Even 35-40 miles into the ride I still heard this voice saying “stop trying, cut off, you are holding them back,” blah, blah, blah…. But at one point I finally realized I was in this for the long haul, and I was not only going to be the caboose but be the best caboose I could be! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13. The end was near.
Somehow, at some point, I ended up in the lead. How did that happen, you ask? They decided to back off and rest a bit. J Wow, I was the engine! They were counting on me to pull them into the headwind and push my lungs and legs to their ultimate capability. I felt focused, strong, and excited, and it lasted maybe a half a mile if I am lucky! Ha! I suppose they wanted to give me an ego boost.
Towards the end, I fell back again, but one lone rider waited for me to pull me back yet once again. It was all I could do to hang onto his wheel, but hang I did. My guts are now out on route 45! Rolling into town I just wanted to get home to my banana and peanut butter and drink about a gallon of water, so I had hoped for the direct route home, however I stuck with them and followed their way, not mine, and eventually made it to my front gate. 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Maybe I was the caboose, but I still finished, with a valiant effort.
I have gone my own way too many times in the past several years, gotten off path, become stagnate in my walk with God, and the whole time He has been calling me back to Him, wanting me to chase His will for my life and to work with a steadfast focus, hope, and love for Him. Only then will I finish the race He has set before me. How about you? Where do you stand? Do not get complacent or ride off in the opposite direction trying to avoid any and all uncomfortable situations. Work hard with all the strength and stamina that the Lord has given you, for His glory. Fear God, not the engine(s) that scare you away from fighting the fight He has set before you. He is the only one worth fearing. This world would be a different place if more people feared God and His mighty, mighty power. Ecclesiastes 8:13 says, “Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.”
Would you believe me if I told you I actually had fun on that chilly, Saturday morning ride?? Well, I did. It was great. I was a happy, pink caboose, who could not wait for the next challenge ahead!