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Earlier this week a friend invited me to go mountain biking with him. I quickly accepted his offer and the next morning we headed out to a local park. The trails were mostly dry, the forest around us was bursting into new life, and before the ride started the playful banter started. I shared with my friend that I was still a NEWBIE when it comes to mountain biking and that I would be walking some of the features (jumps, logs, and other obstacles). He playfully responded, “time to toughen you up young man!” I jokingly respond, “Hey! I have two really good reasons to be careful. Their names are Aiden and Sydney (my children).” Without a beat he responded, “Ah don’t be a wuss. Just close your eyes and go faster.” Well with that rebuttal I decided that I should probably find a different teacher :-)

After all the playful talk was over we hit the trails. With every crank of the pedals my body adjusted and relaxed to the ups and downs and to the split second reactions needed in this sport. My endorphins were kicking in and I was feeling great. We came to our first feature which was a cut out on a fallen tree. Just like my buddy said, he quickly sped up (not sure if he closed his eyes) pulled the front of his bike up and with much grace went smoothly over the tree. I on the other hand slowed down and when I went to pull up on my bike to go over the tree I simply stopped in my tacks. Not thinking much of it I walked my bike over the log and got my momentum back up as quickly as I could. After experiencing this slow down at several other features I started to realize that my fear was keeping me from fully enjoying the ride. Every time I hesitated I had to expend a large amount of  energy just to get back to where I was and often times I ended up banging my shins on the pedals. If I would have had more trust in myself and my bike the ride would have been more enjoyable.

A truth that I believe many of us do not want to acknowledge is that too often we let fear rule over us. I have missed out and some amazing things due to fear. I know that there are friends that I have missed out on in this life because of my fear of starting a conversation with someone new. I know that there are experiences I passed on because I let the “what ifs” get the best of me. I also know that this life based on fear is not the life that God has for us. We read these words full of hope in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God is with us…what great news! God will strengthen us if we simply trust in God’s unwavering love and care for us. Even in our lowest valley…God is with us. 

During turbulent times in the life of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt during his 1933 inaugural address spoke these memorable words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” If we cling to fear we are going to be in bad shape. You may not be planning on going mountain biking soon and may not be worried about how your fear will effect your performance but I have a sneaky suspicion that we all have fears in our lives that we need to let go of. So why not let go of at least one of those fears today? Chances are it is not going to happen over night but with God’s help we can start making steps towards letting go of our fears and trusting more heavily in the true hope we have in the Risen Lord; Jesus Christ our savior.

As always, I am thankful for your willingness to take some time to read my thoughts. May God bless and keep you all of your days. Billy<><

Lord, I pray that you would help us to control our thoughts and to let go of the fear that binds us. Remove thoughts of despair and anxiety and fill us with your peace, joy, and love. This is our prayer this day. Amen

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