In my mid-twenties, I had the opportunity to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, and to this day I count that experience as one of my favorite adventures of all time.
My ride went exactly according to plan — a few miles along the coastline, a steep uphill climb leading to the bridge, a cruise across the bridge overlooking the bay, and a smooth downhill sail to the quaint town of Sausalito, where I ate lunch, rested, and then headed back across the bay by ferry.
Almost a decade later, I relived that San Francisco adventure with my daughter and a girlfriend. I was, of course, excited to take them to see the city I’d fallen in love with ten years before, but I was especially interested in introducing them to that fantastically flawless experience of biking across the bridge.
The morning after we arrived, we pedaled toward the Golden Gate Bridge and eventually dismounted our bikes to walk them up the steep hill to the mouth of the bridge.
After arriving at the other side, we started our easy ride into the quaint town of Sausalito.
About three minutes into the descent, I remember thinking that the bike was going too fast. And I remember thinking that I should probably brake just a bit to slow the bike down.
So I tapped on the brakes.
The bike stopped abruptly.
My body did not.
I don’t remember flying through the air. I don’t remember hitting the pavement. I simply remember thinking, Girl! Get yourself out of the middle of the road!
I felt a bit of an ache on my right side and a twinge of pain on my left, but those were not enough to distract me from the goal of getting to Sausalito. I figured I just needed a second to get my act together and then we could be on our merry way.
I thought I would be okay.
My daughter didn’t think so.
She asked me to look down at my shirt, and when I did, I realized it was covered with blood. I glanced at my left side to identify the source of the pain that was now radiating up my arm. My pinky finger was throbbing. It also seemed to be oddly shaped. I looked at my right arm and realized that my elbow was busted up.
My friend had called an ambulance, and when it arrived, one of the emergency medical personnel squatted in front of me offering assistance and a trip to the ER. I only felt irritated by his questions and offer of assistance. He was getting in my way.
I reasoned with myself, figuring I could tolerate my pain long enough to get back on that bike and make it to Sausalito.
The EMT closed his eyes and leaned his head to one side while taking a deep breath. He then proceeded to gently encourage me to come with him and have my pain addressed.
I didn’t want to admit that I needed help. I didn’t want to acknowledge that my left pinky finger was hurting terribly (because it was broken), my right elbow was pulsing with pain (because it was fractured), and my brain was still ricocheting back and forth in my skull (because I had hit my head, chin first, on the pavement).
All I’d wanted was another perfect day, another great experience, another adventure that lived up to my expectations.
Sometimes, though, our days don’t live up to our expectations.
To find my way out of the mess I’d found my way into, I had only one option: I had to acknowledge my predicament. So I let the ER guy help me into the ambulance. I got my broken finger set, my elbow supported by a sling, and stitches in my chin. I got everything I needed to heal.
I had to own my story in order to fix my story.
It takes one brave chick to admit that her life is not quite shaping up to be the life she envisioned. It takes courage to assess your disappointment, realize where you’ve been disenchanted, and identify the source of your distress.
It’s human nature to hide our shortcomings, disappointments, and mistakes. We tend to avoid the truth of our vulnerability, of our lack of control, of the pain of our predicament.
But without confession and admittance of pain, true restoration and healing cannot begin.
Can I encourage you to own your story? Will you choose to be honest about your pain and seek help and healing? As much as you may not want to stop or pause the ride of your life to do so, here’s what I can tell you for sure — whatever has happened in your life, good, bad, or ugly — you have survived. You are still here. Honor your life by being honest about your story and then taking brave steps to get whatever help you need to heal.
Chrystal Hurst is an energetic, fun-loving “girl-next-door” who loves to encourage other women in fulfilling their full potential in Christ. She is the author of She’s Still There: Rescuing the Girl in You and co-author of Kingdom Woman. Being the eldest child of Dr. Tony and Lois Evans, Chrystal has been surrounded by the Word of God her entire life. You can find Chrystal on her blog or her podcast — Chrystal’s Chronicles — where she poignantly reflects her thoughts about her faith and day-to-day experiences.