This quote is attributed to Albert Einstein.
What’s true of an individual bicycle is definitely true in tandem cycling. It’s a lot easier to fall over when you’re not moving forward! And moving implies change.
I’m aware that some of you reading may not be in a committed relationship and you might think this blog series isn’t geared to your season of life. I want to state here on Day 3 of #write31days that Living in Tandem is primarily about learning to live in tandem with God, our One True Captain. And although my friend Peggy suggested tandem cycling to help me deal with my marriage, God had bigger plans. Tandem cycling is a metaphor I have learned for my spiritual life. I didn’t know that I was going to grow spiritually in this cycling challenge at first. Most of the time I was praying super spiritual prayers like “Please don’t let us die! Our boys are too young to lose their parents!” Or really selfless prayers like “if we crash just let it be over quick! I’m ready to be with You Jesus!” But as the training rides got longer and I became a better stoker I had more time to relax into what I was seeing and experiencing. On those rides the Lord started to show me how my need for control in all my relationships (family, friends, work, etc.) was evidence that I was NOT TRUSTING God. Ouch.
Here’s how I know. You can see the picture:
You can’t ride a tandem alone from the back. You need someone in the front to be the Captain. The Captain steers, brakes, shifts gears and helps balance the bicycle whether at a stop or on the move. The stoker (the back seat rider) balances, pedals and encourages the Captain. From this list, who has more responsibility?
If I kept trying to steer from the back we would tip over. I can’t shift; the levers are on the front handlebars. I can’t brake either for the same reason. I can however help balance by not moving around on the saddle. I have to pedal because the bike is designed with in sync pedals; working together to move forward, and keep moving forward, is a huge part of this metaphor.
We need to communicate to move. And the Captain initiates the communication.
Let that sink in.
I’m not the one to say “Hey! Here’s my plan. Let’s go.” Well I can say it, and I can push the bike forward, but if it’s not the Captain’s idea, the results are likely to be unpleasant, at best. I began to see the spiritual connections, even though I’m sometimes a slow learner.
God initiates the momentum for movement in my spiritual life. I respond. I have a part to play but I’m not in control. The Captain is.
These musings spilled over to meditating on Romans 12:1
I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
See that phrase that tells us it’s all God’s initiating? …by the mercies of God…
Because of what He has already done, I am able to learn to live in tandem with Him.
My cooperation allows the tandem to move forward.
How is your cooperation with God? Learning to listen and cooperate is part of Living in Tandem.