I love bike riding. I’ve been going out to the Katy Trail a few times each week to ride to Hartsburg and back. It’s about 20 miles, round trip and I’ve been doing it for months.
The Katy Trail is gravel and isn’t very smooth in some places. I’ve noticed over the last month or so, the trail feels even rougher than normal. Every dip, bump, and rock seemed more jarring than before. This makes the ride a bit more challenging and takes a little of the joy out of it.
I keep going to the trail and riding the 20 miles to Hartsburg because I love the scenery and love to ride, but it’s more fatiguing than before. The bumps and rough terrain are a more taxing on my body.
But, each day, I load up my bike, strap on my helmet, and add a soft gel cushion onto my bike seat in hopes that whatever has changed over the last month or so to make the trail so rough soon smooths itself back out.
One evening, in the middle of all this, I had dinner with a friend who is an avid rider. Offhandedly, she mentions that her husband airs up her bike tires to the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) every time she gets ready to go for a ride.
“Hmmmm.” I reply. “I’m pretty sure I haven’t added air to my tires since I started riding several months ago. I just grab my bike and ride. I don’t really do anything to prepare for the ride.”
Later that evening when I got home, I mentioned it to my husband. He checked my tires. They didn’t look low, but when he tested them, he saw that they needed a lot of air. They were much lower than they looked. In fact, they were dangerously low and continuing to ride could have caused a blow out or even a bike wreck.
My hubby grabbed the air pump and pumped air into the tire, filling it back up until it was full. A few days later, I unloaded my bike at the Katy Trail and swung my leg over to straddle the seat. I placed my feet on the pedals and pushed off onto the rocky trail.
But to my surprise, it felt different. I didn’t feel every bump or jostle. The trail was still just as rough but I wasn’t jarred by every rock, bump, or dip. I picked up speed and moved smoothly along the gravel trail, enjoying the ride again.
All because I’d made a little change and done the prep work.
I’d taken the time before the ride to fill my tires with air. When I did, the ride was gentler, the rough terrain didn’t seem as challenging, the trail seemed smoother, and I found my joy in the ride renewed.
I was reminded that I’m much like my bicycle, my Soul is like the tires, and life is much like the rocky terrain of the Katy Trail.
It’s easy to just keep showing up day after day for the ride, wincing as each bump along the trail rattles your teeth and jars your bones, all the while not realizing that it’s harder because our tires are going flat.
We often skip the prep work of filling up our tires and the ride is difficult, joyless, and painful.
We do that as people, don’t we? We get up each morning and push through every challenge that our life might throw our way. We wonder why everything feels so hard, why every single bump hurts so much, and why we’ve lost some of the joy in our journey.
It’s because we need to make a change.
We need to do some prep work before we start our day.
Time with our triune God is like air in our Spiritual tires. Time in His word, in prayer, in worship, and in His presence fills us up. It takes the harsh edge off of our situation and circumstances and helps us face our difficulties with the power of the Holy Spirit alive and active in us. He restores our joy in the journey.
I know that not only do my bike tires get low, my entire being feels a little “low” if I don’t make it a priority to do some prep work each morning and get alone with God to let His life giving breath fill me.
If you’re feeling like your tires have gotten a little flat, I wonder if it’s time to prioritize the prep work of adding a little metaphorical air to your tires each morning before you hit the trail of life.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Give us the self-discipline to make it a priority to start our day with you. You are in all, over all, and above all. You are all that we need. Time with you enables us to journey through life filled with your power and with your love. Help us to remember that and put it into practice in our lives.