When it comes to riding a bicycle, balance is vital. While it may not be easy at first, but becomes second nature after some practice. If you are like me, you started with training wheels. Two smaller wheels attached on either side of the large rear wheel add extra support to keep the bicycle in an upright position while learning the art of balancing on the two-wheeled machine.
Learning to Ride
The removal of one’s training wheels was sort of like a rite of passage when I was growing up! I vividly remember the day I begged my dad to take the training wheels off my bike. It was a lovely summer day, and my sister and I had spent the day four houses down practicing on our neighbors’ bikes. They were experienced riders who had no training wheels.
Sitting around the dinner table early that evening, my sister and I eagerly shared how we had learned to ride a bike without training wheels and asked Daddy to please, please, please, take our training wheels off!
Daddy was cautiously optimistic to hear our good news, but he suggested that we demonstrate our ability first for our safety and protection. Mother called the neighbors to be sure it was ok for us to come down, and within a few minutes, both families assembled to watch our trial runs on a bike without training wheels.
My older sister went first. She rode that bike like a champ and got off beaming from ear to ear. Everyone applauded, and Daddy assured her that he thought she was ready. It was my turn, and I was excited! Grinning from ear to ear and having every reason to be confident, I bounced up on the bike and took off.
A Big Mistake
As I reached the first turning point, I looked back to see the pride I knew would be on my parent’s faces. As I turned my head, I took the handlebars with me! I caught only a glimpse of their smiles as their expressions quickly changed into looks of shock and fear!
Turning back, I found myself facing a brick wall. I quickly overcorrected, only to face another obstacle! I tried to dodge the massive prickly bush but winced and tightly closed my eyes as half of it brushed across one side of my body, leaving bloody scratches and intense pain. I opened my eyes - now inches from a small inflatable swimming pool filled with water and slammed the brakes. I fell with the bike into the middle of the swimming pool, wetting my pants in more ways than one! In one flail motion, I jumped up, leaving the bike behind, and ran all the way home crying.
Within seconds my hopes had turned to humiliation. I took my eyes off of the path only for a second but lost my focus first and then my balance.
Life without balance is like that. How quickly things can spiral out of control!
I was recently thinking about balance in my own life, and the Lord reminded me of this unforgettable unbalanced experience with a bicycle. Then He began to show me how a bike can be an illustration of a balanced life!
Come along for the ride as I share what I learned. You may discover some helpful analogies for balance in your own life.
The Back Tire
A balanced life starts with the back tire, which represents God. He is the one who created us, loves us, and made each of us for a purpose in life.
When we sit in the seat over the back tire for this journey called life – our very lives are in God’s hand, and He holds us up, filling our lives with undeserved mercy and abundant grace!
The Spokes and the Gears
The many spokes in the back tire lead us to Jesus and through Jesus, reminding us that He was pierced for our transgressions and took our punishment that we might have a right relationship with God when we surrender our lives to His lordship.
The spokes lead us through Jesus to the Holy Spirit, represented in that small center on the back wheel connected to a gear that is always ready for action. God’s Spirit is our source of strength and power for living life. He wants to be involved in our lives to fill our lives with joy and to give us the strength and ability to fulfill our purposes in life!
The Rear Rack
The rear rack over the back tire is for the Bible, God’s instruction book for life. Every decision we make should be grounded in the principles found therein. God tells us to hide these words in our hearts that we might not sin against Him. We must keep His Word close as we travel through life.
The Chain and Cover
There is a chain between the Holy Spirit and the larger gear connected to the pedals. The chain cover reminds me that the Holy Spirit is always there, reaching out to give us exactly what we need for a balanced life that glorifies God in all ways.
The Pedal/Power Connection
God provides a seat for us, His Word, salvation through Jesus, and the power of His Holy Spirit abiding in us! But, we have to make the connections. We must open the instruction book and hide its words in our hearts. We must choose to get on that seat with Jesus as our Savior.
To go forward in the power of the Holy Spirit to live a balanced life, we must plant our feet on the pedals and activate that power. We do that by believing God’s promises, being obedient to the truth found in His Word, and trusting in His provision for every area of our lives.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein
As we sit on the bike with our feet on the pedals, we place our hands on the handlebars. These handlebars are connected to and control the front wheel, which represents the many areas of life that we must balance. God creates each of us to have free will, or decision-making responsibility and privileges, to make hundreds of decisions every day in every area of life. We use the handlebars to choose paths to follow and turns to take as we ride along life’s journey.
When riding the bicycle described here, in the manner described, we are more likely to have the mind of Christ, which will affect the decisions we make. Life at times can even seem much like riding down a smooth road on a beautiful spring day, with sunlight on your face and a gentle breeze blowing through your hair, and all your loved ones riding along beside you!
Bumps in the Road
Unfortunately, because of our imperfect human nature, all of life will not be that perfect. Sometimes when things are going so well, we sit back and close our eyes for a minute to soak in our pleasure. It is easy to forget that our real power comes from connection, or pedaling, and we choose to coast for a bit.
Or, we may get distracted, turning to see what others are doing or where they are going. When we turn back to focus on our journey, we realize we are not where we thought we should be but have gotten off track.
Maybe, anxious to move forward faster, we get out of our seat standing to pedal more forcefully in our own strength? Perhaps we become unsure of a situation we are facing and glance back with doubt or fear. These are all things that can cause us to take a wrong turn, veer too far to one side or another, or hit a hole or bump in the road.
When riding a bike or moving through life, it doesn’t take much for things to quickly spiral out of control, like my bicycle ride of humiliation as a young girl! As adults, the situations and consequences are often much worse than running into a bush and falling into an inflatable swimming pool, though!
When You Fall Off
When we feel we have fallen off of the seat that represents being held securely in His hand, instead of running away as I did as a child, we must get back up! Sometimes it is a slight move to get back into the seat, held securely in His right hand.
Other times we must use the kickstand to prop things up while we take some time to sit before the Lord and in His Word. He will renew our focus and our strength! And when we are ready, we will climb back into the seat and move forward again with balance.
Living a Balanced Life
I did learn to ride my bike without training wheels, and riding a bicycle was one of my greatest pleasures as a child. More importantly, I have learned the secret to a balanced and content life as I journey through this life in right relationship to God through Jesus as my Lord and Savior and Holy Spirit as my guide and the source of my strength!
Life will get out of balance at times, but knowing how to get back up and keep moving forward in the Spirit’s power is a tremendous help to me.
What are some things that help you to find balance in this crazy busy world around us? I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time, may the Lord bless you really good!