Mama Was a Hot Mess

“Riding a bike with my husband” has never been at the top of my Favorite Things To Do list…EVER. Nor has it ever been on the top of my Things That Make Me Look Awesome list…NEVER, EVER.

“Riding a bike with my husband” is on my Things I Do Because I Love My Husband  list and Things I Keep Trying to Do Because I Don’t Want to Admit Defeat list. Yeah, it’s on those lists…right beside “Planting Vegetables,” “Hiking with a Pack,” “Following a Budget” and “Taking my Vitamins.”

So why is riding a bike with my husband so hard for me? It’s really quite simple.

He’s better than I am. 

Sure, I may not be the slowest, weakest, most-winded snail in the pack but compared to him, I am…and my pride hates that.

So this past weekend when we decided to take a family bike ride, you can probably imagine all of the warm-fuzzy, confidence-boosting thoughts that were teeming my brain.

Ummm…yeah…NOT. SO. MUCH.

Before we even got on the trail, my bum was experiencing phantom pains, and my pride was already half-way defeated.

Oh, and did I mention that on our first real bike trip of the season, I had offered to pull the bike trailer with the baby???

Let’s see…I stink at this without a bike trailer that has terrible drag, but let me go ahead and pretend that I can do this because I would really hate to openly admit to you (and my pride) that I pretty much can’t do this, forcing you (awesome, bike-riding husband) to lug the toddler seat and the trailer. 

Yeah, my pride has a few, small issues. 

Anyway, our plan was to ride a paved bike trail from one town to another, and let’s just say I’m SUPER glad I didn’t know the distance between those two towns at the onset of our trip, or I would have died before I even mounted my seat. But because I had no clue, I jumped on my bike and set out with my half-defeated self, the bike trailer, and the baby.

We had pedaled a whopping two miles when my legs began aching. Semi-convinced that I was pulling a horse trailer behind my rear tire, I reduced the gears as low as I could, willing myself to forge ahead. But as another few years miles passed crawled by, I started lagging behind.

The super-awesome bike rider must have noticed my lag because he slowed his Super-Hero speed and said to me, “If you need me to pull the trailer, just let me know. The first 10 miles of this ride is mostly uphill.”

Double blow.

Not only had he just acknowledged in an audible voice that I might need help, but he had also just informed my horrified self that the ride was 20 miles!

Mama was literally and figuratively a hot mess!

You’ve got to be kidding me! 20 miles??? There’s no possible way I can bike 20 miles like this!! My legs will fall off; the children will starve; the gnats will swarm my weak, wimpy body; I’ll die out here!!!

But was it fearful desperation that came tumbling out of my mouth?

“You know what? I hate riding bikes with you! You always make me feel so stupid and so slow. If you don’t want to ride with me, then don’t!!!”

My pride was raging, and the unfounded accusations were flying.

My issues and my struggles with my weaknesses were now his fault and his problem. 

I was angry with him myself, and he I knew it.

I pushed on for another four miles in a terrible mood and in absolute pain, and when I absolutely couldn’t bear the thought of pedaling another inch, I broke down and asked for the help I so desperately needed.

“Babe, I just can’t do this. It’s just too hard. I need your help.” 

Without a single complaint or a hint of disappointment, he graciously picked up my load and started pulling.

I felt so incredibly relieved, so terribly dependent, so utterly thankful; He was carrying the load that I could not. 

As I watched him lovingly pull my load, an incredible wave of rest flooded my soul.

I was able to acknowledge my weaknesses.

I was able to admit my need.

I was able to accept my junk.

I was able to ask for forgiveness.

I was able to bike in freedom.

And when I was willing to let go of some of that arrogant, suffocating pride, my legs weren’t the only things that were feeling free and light.

As we pedaled on, now at a much quicker pace, the words of Matthew 11:28 kept coming to mind.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

When I had finally surrendered, letting go of control and relinquishing a load that was too big for me, I experienced tangible rest on that sun-lit bike path. 

When I returned home from our bike ride, I read the following verse, Matthew 11:29.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

As I read those words, my soul was floored.

When we come into His presence and cast our burdens on Him, He asks us to take a new bond–a new burden–one that follows Jesus’ example.

And what does that new yoke look like?

It looks like humility. 

At mile marker 6.5, I was forced to make a choice.

Would I continue to choose my pride, lugging a load that was too large for me to carry, or would I lay down my pride and take on a new burden–a posture of humility? 

I’d like to say that it was a simple decision and an easy exchange, but it wasn’t.

Humility is a hard choice for the proud soul, but for the proud soul that choose humility, rest for the soul is life-giving and even life-saving. 

How about you?

What’s weighing you down that’s too large for you to carry?

What do you need to relinquish and give to Him?

What areas in your life is He calling you to lay down your pride and take up a posture of humility?

I haven’t taken an exhaustive look at my life and at all the areas in my life where I’m choosing to embrace pride because of the burdens I’m refusing to let go, but I imagine that there’s a lot more than just a bike trailer that needs to be released.  

Lord, give us humility to cast our cares on you, trusting that the rest you promise is so, so, SO much better than the loads we insist on carrying. 

027

5 thoughts on “Mama Was a Hot Mess

  1. Oh Jessica, so grateful to be reconnected with you! Your transparency is such a blessing and encouragement. Thanks so much for sharing all you do. I LOVE hearing of your life and desire to honor God through our sinful selves. 🙂

    • Oh, Julie…I have looked up to you for as long as I can remember. SO thankful for how the Lord keeps us connected in the ways He does! Thanks for your encouragement and the reminder that vulnerability (though uncomfortable at times) is one of the many ways that God grows us and others. BIG HUGS!

  2. Thank you for once again not hiding your struggles but sharing them and then pointing us (and yourself) to the ways in which the Lord had already worked out a solution to said struggles – before time began! What kindness of God that when we lay down our pride, the Lord graciously replaces it with peace. Not perfection thereafter, but peace.

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