Disclaimer: This is not a post about body building.
It seems the natural reaction to doing something for the first time is often fear. Picture a swimming pool for a moment. You’ve probably seen a child standing on the edge of a diving board, looking down at the water and waiting. So much uncertainty. You may have also seen a child turn around and walk back off the board. Or perhaps you know one who refused to climb the ladder in the first place. Or get their face in the water. The unknown can be overwhelming.
When I talk about riding a tandem bike with my husband I am met with one of three responses: “That would be so fun!” OR “That would be terrifying!” OR “I could NEVER do that!” Interestingly when I first considered sitting on the back seat and actually riding the bike with my husband terror was what gripped me. It wasn’t because I didn’t know what riding a bike was like; I’d been riding bikes since I was 7. It was because of trust. Or coming face to face with the need to leave my comfort zone and the real potential for getting physically hurt! I didn’t say I would NEVER do that, but I did feel fear grip my insides.
Trust can be a fuzzy thing. We toss the word around so nonchalantly. We say things like “I can trust him with my life!” or “Don’t trust her she’s a practical joker.” But when fear wells up inside, your Trust muscle needs to take over.
I said trust can be fuzzy; I guess what I mean is that it’s a big idea that can be explained by experiences and other words that are also big ideas. It’s not like Tree. You can look at pictures of trees. But to define trust you need experiences and other words. Faith. Belief. Trust. They are all synonyms and can be used to help bring clarity to the big idea.
When I realized I was afraid to trust my husband with all the control on the bike a new awareness began dawning on the edges of my consciousness. Not just that I was a control freak. I had had that fact pointed out on many occasions and not always in light-hearted ways. No, the new idea that began as a flicker of recognition on the horizon of my awareness was: if I don’t trust him, do I really love him?
Of course I wanted to be able to say I trust my husband. But at that moment when I climbed onto the back of the borrowed tandem 18 years ago my heart was racing and fear was running rampant and all I could say was “Try not to kill us!” Not a very trusting statement. Fortunately all body parts were intact after the 10 minute ride through the neighborhood. That one ride didn’t cure me of my freak nature but it did build my trust a teeny bit. He proved he knew how to steer and brake safely. We didn’t fall down or crash. (All good things to avoid when possible)
(my view from the tandem)
Trust is like a muscle. It has to be used to grow. And it has to be strained to get stronger.
My trust of my husband’s cycling ability wasn’t going to go off the charts with one 10 minute ride. But if there was a meter to measure the increase of trust , I know mine began to go up that day. And as trust went up, my need to control started to loosen its grip on my life.
Aren’t we like that with God? We’re not sure if He’s trustworthy so we only give Him a little bit of room in our lives. When He shows Himself faithful (like He says He is) then our trust goes up.
Here’s a thought: You can’t fully trust someone you don’t know.
I’d been married to my husband for 6 years when we first shared that ride on a tandem bike. It wasn’t as if I didn’t know him. But I discovered then that I didn’t fully trust him.
My need for control in all areas of my life was revealing my lack of trust; of people, but ultimately of God, too. If I was going to be able to loosen the grip of the control freak role in my life I was going to have to exercise my trust muscle in new and harder ways. I was going to have to learn to trust.
I could learn more about my husband. I could practice riding with him. But if it’s true you can’t trust someone you don’t know, how do we learn to trust God?
You can get to know Him in a million little ways. More tomorrow…