On Sunday afternoons I ride my adorable turquoise beach cruiser bicycle with the pink basket decorated in pompoms a little over 10 miles to a coffee shop here on the island. It’s my weekly escape to sit and be by myself and read. Yesterday’s bike ride was different. There were storms. I went any way.
I made it to the coffee shop and sat outside reading. The weather grew worse. Wind gusts would come and clear my entire table.
Now, have you ever ridden a bike in a storm? Have you ever noticed just how much harder it is to peddle facing into the wind. Even the slightest wind makes you double your effort. And wind gusts … they’ll make it nearly impossible.
Yet I sat and read my book with no worries, no stress, and no concern. I was MILES from home. A long journey was ahead and the sun was hanging low in the sky so I couldn’t delay much longer. Why wasn’t I worried? How was I able to enjoy being exactly where I was in that moment without an overwhelm of what was coming next?
This was my ah-ha moment. A realization that made me sit there with a cheesey grin nodding my head. I wasn’t worried about the weather rolling in, the head winds making my potential return impossible and all the miles of misery required … because my rescue was one phone call away! My husband has a cell phone and a truck. I know all I have to do is call and say, “Hey honey, would you come get me” and he will be on his way to me.
Do you see where this is going?
It’s the literal picture of Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
I don’t have to fear an impossible bike ride home through a storm, I’ve got help. That help allows me to enjoy where I am without an overwhelming concern for what is next.
Your heavenly father can be that comfort for you. You can be facing the darkest valley in life, and still fear no evil. You can walk right through this without imaging horrible future scenarios in your head. You can take your next step in total uncertainty, knowing God is going to be right there with you. You’re never going to be left alone to figure this out on your own. You’re never going to be without his help.
This is how you go through that dark valley of divorce where you feel like there’s a mean and relentless giant towering over you.
This is how you show up for another job interview when the past 3 companies have chosen someone else.
This is how you take the next step in a dream that seems totally out of reach and out of budget, yet God hasn’t released you from that dream.
This is how you face the reality of the diagnosis with a resolve to continue living every day you are given.
This is how … you’re not out here on your own. You have help!
When you know you have help, you find the courage to do things you wouldn’t typically do. When you know you have help, you go further, push harder, and enjoy the journey. When you know you have help, you are able to savor right where you are without worry of what is coming next.
How much of your day is spent worrying about what may happen next? How many of your thoughts are based on fear of a future you don’t know? How much of your energy is wrapped up in the assumption that what’s coming next is going to be too hard?
Here’s what God showed me … way too often, we’re missing the beauty of where God wants to take us because we’re focused on how hard it will be to come back if it doesn’t work out. Why would you ride miles with the wind, knowing you will have to turn around and go back against the wind? Wouldn’t you just stay home?
Yes, without the security of help, we would stay home … but we have help! We are always one prayer away from God’s intervention on our behalf! This should not only bring us comfort, but this should give us confidence! No threat of a storm is going to sideline me … I’m a girl who rides with help!
All this time I’ve been reading Psalm 23 like a bandaid. God will put a bandaid on my problems. When I get hurt, he will comfort me. When I am afraid, he will hold me. That’s true, but it’s so much deeper than that. This is a call to action. Walk through that dark valley, and you keep on walking! You are being strengthened, you are being guided, you are being protected. Now walk. Go. Don’t sit and worry. Don’t get stuck in your own head and made up worst case scenarios.
Yes, you should keep going. No, you shouldn’t give up. Yes, things could go wrong. No, you don’t have to worry. And here’s why … you have help! And when you know you have help, you find the courage to go further.
Here was my other ah-ha moment yesterday on my turquoise beach cruiser bicycle with a pink basket decorated in pompoms. When I began my return journey into headwinds, I called my help to let him know I was heading back. I told him I was just going to see how hard I could peddle and how far I could make it. And to my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. It was hard, no doubt, but it wasn’t impossible.
Have you ever noticed how your imagined future scenarios are typically much worse than reality becomes once you get there? You do have enough strength. There is a way. It isn’t going to all be so hard.
I wonder if there’s a future scenario you’ve been stressing over that isn’t even going to be that bad once you get there. I wonder if God has already given you the strength you will need, but you’re forfeiting the strength every time you’re cancelling the journey out of fear. Girl, get out of your head and get going.
That dark valley ahead may not be that dark once you’re in it. You may find God has given you the ability to go right through this. He has provided light for your path. He has guided your steps. He has strengthened your mind.
We often quote Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Looking at different translations of this scripture, I found one that says it like this, “I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.”
I can endure. Say that, “I can endure.” Because I know God gives me the strength to endure, I can start in confidence. I can continue in confidence. I can face the unknown future in confidence. I don’t have to be overwhelmed by the shadows of fear. It may not even be that bad by the time I get there. I may find strength within me I didn’t even know I had. But through it all, I know I have help. I will never face anything alone. My God is one prayer away, so darn it, I’m going to try! And I’m not going to fear what may happen next. He’s either already calmed the storm for me, supernaturally strengthened me to go right through the storm, or on his way to rescue me from the storm.
I have absolutely no reason to stress and worry and miss the beauty of where I am now or what he has aligned for me next. I can endure.