Sunday, September 11, 2016

Just Like Riding a Bike

Riding a bike...chances are you learned how to do that years ago and today can do it with relative ease. Bike riding isn't often on the forefront of my mind, but the other day it was in my thoughts. Our "baby", Mr. Jesse-Man just turned 5 and has mastered his 2 wheel bike. No more training wheels on the Beran farm!

As the whole family gathered around to watch him ride with confidence, he grinned from ear to ear. Before long he was comparing his skid marks to his big brother's. Eventually, we got to recalling each child's first experience with 2 wheels. My daughter, Joy, sticks out...she was only 3 1/2 when her big brother did what she had never done. A week passed and she was determined to do it as well, so our 5 year old mechanic obliged and removed the extra wheels.

After moments of frustration, I suggested putting them back on, but my little princess/tomboy thought otherwise. She'd been able to ride with me getting her started and believed with enough determination she could do it herself. She wasn't turning back...even if it meant a skinned up knee!

Eight years ago, God taught me much through my little that point in my life He was leading me into ministry, I was working on my book and I was just starting my blog. I shared this story in one of my first posts and wrote, "Sometimes it is hard, I think I can't, I worry about failing and getting hurt, I wonder what others will think, but just like my little girl I have to make a choice. No matter what might happen, I have to do what God calls me to do. Sure I might crash, but she reminded me I can get back up, brush it off and try again. She even went so far after one fall to stand up, smile and say, "There's not even any blood!"

Jesse's latest accomplishment brought this lesson to mind, but God provided another reminder through my son as well...he's done with training wheels. Now that he's rode without them, he won't be putting them back on. His next bike will be bigger, eventually he'll have gears and hand brakes. Someday my dare-devil may even add a motor. He's going to keep moving forward.

I've been convicted I need to do the same...not necessarily with my bike, but as I walk in faith. The timing of this is all God as just a week ago, my eyes were being opened to a tendency in my life. Here's how it tends to go...I step out in obedience and do what God calls me to do and/or believe a Truth He leads me to, but then time goes by and Satan attacks or God tests.

I doubt and get anxious. I feel like a failure and wrestle with insecurity. My mind can be a mess and sometimes I even battle depression. Those are all things I've struggled with my entire life. Clearly, Satan knows my weak spots. Thankfully, I'm finally recognizing my habits...the habits of my mind.

Out here on the farm, we have cow paths through our's the route the cattle take. You can spot them from a distance...the grass around them can be tall, but the path is often worn to dirt. I've read a few times that our thoughts do a similar thing...scientists call it memory trace. So if you grew up with insecure thoughts, your brain has a tendency to take that same path and think the same thing. Our thoughts can become a habit. And have you noticed how quickly they can run wild? Mine can go downhill hill from 0-60 faster than any car on the road!!

So what can we do about this? Scripture gives us the answer in 2 Corinthians 10:5 where Paul writes, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

I've read this verse countless times and shared it here before, but lately God has been showing me I need to do this constantly. If I want my thoughts to take a different path, I need new ones. Thoughts that are wrong, bad or lies from the enemy need to be removed from my thinking; that will only happen if I take them captive.

I'm beyond grateful for all God's done to renew my thinking and help me understand my identity in Christ, but I'm tired of falling back into old ways. I can see the change that's taken place, but I'm ready for more...not just change, but transformation. I can't do this, but I believe God can do it in me.

The other night I asked Jesse, "Why did you have Dad take your training wheels off?" Side-note - we've been working towards this all summer and I can't count how many times we've taken the wheels off only to put them back on minutes later. My Mr. Strong-Willed says, "Me just was going to do it."

Friend, initially I was going to use that story to lead into the idea that we need to make a choice, but I typed those words and was reminded we have a similar situation with our Heavenly Father. Just like my husband and I were patient with our lil man, God does the same for us...He helps us, prepares us and encourages us. He knows we can do what He created us for, but He won't force us into it. He leads us, but He won't push us.

Rather than being strong-willed, we must be Spirit-filled! We can die to ourselves and let Him live in us. He won't just change us, He will transform us. He longs for us to mature and become more like Christ. He's ready for us to leave the training wheel stage of life behind! Are you ready to do it?

I want to close with 2 things...a song and a prayer. This song has been playing in my head for a speaks to my heart and reminds me of Truth. Friend, we can stay where we are, we can hold on to who we are and we can be safe where He has, but He has called us higher and deeper!

All summer Jesse was hesitant to take the training wheels off, but if you could see him now, you'd see joy, success and even more determination. Friend, if we'd go deeper into our relationship with God we'd experience much of the same. Granted, just like Jesse, we may take some falls and feel some pain, but that's part of the growing process. When this happens we can take another example from my little man...we don't need to go back and start all over again, we don't need to put the training wheels on again. Just get up and start where we are at...keep moving forward - growing closer to Christ, going deeper with Him and higher for Him! So with that, may this song by All Sons and Daughters encourage you today!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Lord, thank you for meeting us where we are at, loving us unconditionally and calling us deeper. I'm grateful for this reminder through training wheels that I too need to move forward. Help me press on, progress and continue being perfected. I want to leave old ways, thoughts and habits behind. I can't do that on my own, so fill me with your Spirit so you can change me from the inside out. Humble my heart Lord, tender it too so I'm sensitive to your Spirit. Help me believe and make me quick to obey. And Father, when I fall remind me who You are...a God who doesn't change, One who never forsakes and is always present. Take away my fear, doubts and worry. Help me cast all my cares on you because you care for me. May I always remember You are good, You are sovereign and You are working for your glory and my good. Today help me take a step forward with You and for Your kingdom. In Jesus' Name I pray...Amen


  1. Jill,
    I appreciate your honesty. I also appreciate the truth and scripture you brought to light. I have been struggling too with thought patterns and habits. I feel so ready to change course, to take off the training wheels, and see change. I will pray for you. Will you please pray for me?
    Love you, friend!

    1. Yes Rachel I will pray for you. I believe this desire for change is one from God...may we remember He will give us the desires of our heart. We know He'll be faithful to do His part...may we be faithful to do our's.

      Dear Heavenly Father, you've opened our eyes to thoughts that aren't from you and given us a longing for change, thank you. Now I ask you to fill us with your Spirit so that we can take our thoughts captive and give us wisdom from you to know how to replace them with Truth. Lord, I lift Rachel to you and pray you will do a new thing in her. Renew her mind and right her thinking. In Jesus' Name, Amen

    2. First, yay for Jesse!! So proud of him.

      Second, wow!! The cow path analogy, comparing it with our thoughts and thought patterns. I can so relate to that. It brought the verse you shared following that story alive in a new way for me too. I verse I have memorized and have taught from many times. I needed that wisdom today. Thank you, sweet friend, as always for your powerful lessons from the farm!