I didn’t learn how to ride a bike without training wheels until second or third grade. On Saturday mornings, my dad took me a few blocks away from the busy street in Tokyo where we lived to practice. He would hold onto the back of my bike, running alongside me as I gained speed. I had a beautiful, cherry red, Japanese bike. It had a sturdy basket on the front, a bell whose ring could clear a sidewalk, one of those kickstands that lifted the entire back end of the bike, and a silver metal rack behind the seat. As long as I believed my dad was still holding on to that silver metal rack, I did just fine. Sometimes he would let go without me knowing and I would continue riding confidently until I realized I couldn’t hear his feet drumming the pavement behind me any longer. I would turn around, see him in the distance, start wobbling, and then fall. We would do this again and again.
I’d apologize for falling down (again) each time, and though he never showed any signs of impatience or frustration, I still remember the feeling that I was taking too long, that I should be riding already. I wanted to catch on quickly and glide away without so many scrapes and wobbles.
I could write a long list of all of the should-be weights that I’ve carried since those days.
Just a few weeks ago, I went to a cross country meet that my oldest was participating in. The humidity was thick, and it was the warmest part of the day. I was tired before the crowded event even began, and I had a pit in my stomach as I rushed my two younger kids through the grass. Crowds and places where we have to move fast are full of triggers for our youngest. By the middle of the event, I was dripping with sweat, carrying our visibly upset four-year-old, handing another sticky, melting snack to our seven-year-old, and trying to figure out where to catch a glimpse of our ten-year-old who was running. In my mind, I reprimanded myself for not being better prepared for the setting and for being as anxious as I was. There were hundreds of other parents around me doing the same thing, and I thought I should be better at this kind of thing by now.
I am a grown woman, raising children of my own now, and yet I still find myself forgetting that I don’t have to live by a rule book of should-be’s. Jesus hasn’t set me free so I can work to check off an ever-growing list of should-be’s in my own strength. God doesn’t tell me to hurry up and get myself together. He doesn’t ask me why it’s taking me so long nor does He pull out a chart to show me how far behind schedule I am.
When I was eight and couldn’t quickly overcome my fear of riding alone, my dad ran beside me holding my bike up as I rode. He steadied me. He found a quiet street in the middle of a busy, bustling city to keep me safe. He cleaned up my scraped knees when I fell. He made time to let me enjoy the feeling of wind in my hair and made space for me to try again and again after I fell. If my dad worried that I might never get the hang of it, I never knew. To this day, riding a bike still feels like something magical to me.
It’s counterintuitive to the culture of scarcity we live in, but we are free to move at the pace God has given us.
We’re free to say no when our capacity is full and our bodies are tired. We’re free to learn slowly, to say we don’t know, to take up the space we need to grow deep and wide in the tasks, gifts, and lessons we’ve been given. We’re free to be quiet and observe. We’re free to speak up when we are ready. We are free to feel what we feel and be where we’re at. We’re free to offer the little we have and watch to see how our little transforms into enough in God’s able hands. We’re free to let the silence linger a little longer. We’re free to mother others as women who have limits and worth, women with bodies and minds to pay attention to and care for. We’re free to live without the restrictive timelines that tell us we’re too late to bloom, too slow to ever be what we should be, too limited to experience God at work in and through our lives.
We are free to be loved, and to then learn and live, however slowly, from the foundation of that perfect love.
It's counterintuitive to the culture of scarcity we live in, but we are free to move at the pace God has given us. -@tashajunb: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I can relate, wholeheartedly, to your post. There have been many times that I’ve though that anyone (pluck a stranger off the street) could do a better job with my life than what I was doing. There were some situations and experiences with which I seemed to struggle more. Right now I’ve been reading an excellent book as part of a book launch team. It’s called, “Sensitive & Strong” (by Denise Hughes & Cheri Gregory). In it they talk about being a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). I remember when I first heard this term a few years ago and I took the “quiz”. Not surprisingly I had an almost “perfect score”. I could be the poster gal for HSP’s everywhere. HSP’s respond more intensely to emotional, environmental, and psychological stimuli. I sum it up like this, “Most of the world will have a $1 reaction to a certain trigger, whereas I will have a $100. reaction. It can be sights, sounds, smells. I flinch easily. I could never watch scary movies. I once cried at Sea World at the end of the Shamu show. To this day, my kids will say, Mom’s having a “Shamu moment” whenever I am easily brought to tears lol. I used to think I was an alien. This book is helping me to realize that I am 1 in 5 people who are highly sensitive. Furthermore, I’m learning that God created me/us with a special and unique design. We aren’t a mistake, but bring great strength and much needed beauty into the world. I, too have learned that I am free to learn at my own pace and I’m free to be the person that God created me to be. God doesn’t make mistakes! Sorry, long comment on a wonderful post…
Bev help!! I’m struggling here. I need prayers please xx
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I have been lifting you up in prayer all morning!! It can be SO disheartening, especially for us extra-sensitive people, to be turned down for a position. I don’t do rejection well at all!! One thing I HAVE learned is that every “No” gets me one step closer to a “Yes”. God knows THE perfect position for you. With your sensitive and caring heart I can see you in a job more on the front lines dealing directly with people who are hurting, suffering, struggling because you have the gift of compassion to give them. Not everyone has that gift. I know God has stretched my “patience muscles” while waiting on answers from Him. He knows your situation better than anyone and is calling on you to keep trusting and keep leaning into Him. When it gets really tough, tell Him…”Lord, HELP me to keep trusting in You and waiting on Your timing.” Tell Him what’s on your mind. God never refuses to answer, He just might not answer on our time schedule. Praying for you for patience, strength, perseverance, and hope as you wait on His timing. I know there is a position out there that will benefit from the gifts you have to offer. Keep the faith and know I’m praying sweet friend,
Love and Prayers,
Thanks for mentioning the book, “Sensitive & Strong” in your comments, Bev. It sounds like a wonderful book that will help me understand my strengths as I process my role of being a sensitive person. I’ve already looked it up and plan to read it.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I highly recommend it because I have always seen my sensitivity as a weakness. I had a lot of people telling me to toughen up, don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, etc. This book really helped to solidify the truth that HSP’s are superbly created by God and we have some awesome gifts to give the world. It also provided some ways to process my thoughts and to navigate life – which can be trying if you are especially sensitive. You have a lot to offer this cold world!
Bev, thank you for sharing. I’m so glad you are finding that the way God’s made you is beautiful and that your uniqueness is a gift. The book you mentioned sounds very helpful!
Beth Williams says
This world moves at a fast & furious pace. People expect you to do so much by certain ages. God is different. He knows us intimately. He understands it takes longer for some to reach their goals. Like you I took forever to learn to ride a bike. Growing up for me wasn’t easy. I had two punctured eardrums that made it impossible to hear. It took a long time to finally get a hearing aid & now finally they are healed. I have reached a somewhat mature place in my life. God has blessed me with a good part-time job that years ago I would never have taken due to talking on phone. Now I get up in front of people & do sign language to songs. All this took over 50 years to fruition. God’s economy isn’t like the world’s. Look at plants & trees. You plant a seedling & it takes 20+ years for the trees to grow big & tall. God has a plan for each of us. We need to move in His timing not the worlds. Don’t worry about not being (put in whatever) at a certain age. Each of us matures at our own pace. Just like God’s design.
That’s beautiful a Beth to hear Gods blessings in your life!!
Thanks so much for sharing, Beth. We can use more stories that take their time.
Wonderful post and such honesty…I can relate for sure. Wondering if I’m a good enough mother, friend, person and I am very sensitive like Bev shared. Today I heard from a job at the Red Cross in our town for a volunteer trainer, I didn’t even get short listed. A number of high calibre people applied who had adult training which I do not. Well I was just about to drive my kids 3 hours away to my mother in laws holiday house. We are here alone for two nights and my husband will join us.
Anyway I cried like a baby. I had a meeting with an inspiring women whom I reached out too and even though there was so much synergy between what I’m interested in and what she is doing there was no job there either. I know God has a plan BUT what? What is next? I have bills mounting up and I’ve finished study and I feel disappointed, disillusioned, and ill equipped to carry out Gods plan. Did I get it wrong? Believing He has put me on this path to serve? God if your listening SHOW me a sign. Am I supposed to be working in humanitarian field? Based in Dunedin? I have enough self doubt as it is…God/Jesus and the Holy Spirit please make it known to me!! I love you but I’m having a hard time here…HELP!!
Praying for you, JAS. My heart feels your disappointment and pain. Praying you feel God’s arms detail around you. May He speak into your heart today.
Thanks for your heartfelt message Debbie! And for your prayers, I do hope it becomes clearer!
Jas, I’m so sorry for that disappointment today. I know that must’ve hurt and I hear your desperation and confusion. I am saying a prayer for you now, asking God to lead you, and most of all, asking God to let you feel his presence and sense how deeply he delights in you – just as you are. Thank you for your honesty and for your questions. I’m so glad you are here.
Jas, just checking in here. How has the rest of your week been? Many of us have been praying. How is your heart?
Thank you for your prayers, it helps to know you are praying and have thought of me. I was emotional and questioning everything. I’ve had a better rest of the week spent with my kids and husband. Kids certainly do take my mind off my own worries! It is school holidays now one week down another to go.
As for my heart I’m ok. Emotions have settled and I’m waiting…that’s all I can do and apply for all jobs and see what transpires..thank you for your continued prayers. I know it’s selfish and a very first world problem seems ironic cause I want to work to help people but God works in his own time so I just have to keep trying and praying for discernment…
I can do relate! I often feel I’m learning life slower than I should. Thanks for sharing this-it helped.
Dollie, you are not alone! I’m glad the post encouraged you.
I’m happy to know that it resonated with you. You are not alone, Dollie!
Darlene Slon says
Thank you for this! It spoke right to my heart. This morning I was beating my self up for something I thought I should be over and that I should be doing better by now! A great reminder that He comes along side of me and is ever so patient and loving me in all of it. I don’t have to “try harder” because He is enough because I am enough in Him. Thank you for reminding me of that this morning!
Darlene, you are welcome. I’m so glad it spoke to you. I hope you can give yourself grace and let him lead you at your own pace.
Elaine Rhoaded says
I have learned, by God’s grace to allow myself to go in a slower pace than the world. God showed me how to take time to smell the flowers. Thank you for your beautiful life story. It would be great if other would learn this blessing.
That’s so great, Elaine. I’m glad you are here.
Michele Morin says
I was having this conversation with my 57-year-old self just yesterday, puzzled that I should be struggling with some of the same old things, and certain that my younger self would be dismayed with my progress. I eventually made it to a healthy perspective of gratitude for all the twists in the road that have yielded great blessing and growth in places I’d never envisioned, and now today… Thank you for your reinforcement!
Michele, it helps so much to know that it’s not just me. I’m grateful for you example here as well!
Deborah L Van Norden says
I needed this so badly. I’m at a place where somebody is telling me not to feel at all about my situation, that it’s not about me. And, like you, I feel like I’m always behind because as a child, this same person told me again and again that I was behind my peers emotionally. I always feel I have to get it, I have to grow, right now, and when I fail and I don’t get it, when it’s taking so long, I’m sure I’m a failure and God is impatient and angry with me. Before I finished this reading, I was in tears. And when I was finished, I said aloud, It’s okay for me to feel. It’s okay for me not to get it right now. Isn’t it? I asked God. He wrapped His arms around me. It really is okay, though it’s difficult for this wounded soul to believe. I’m going to type this one up and keep it and read it over and over again. Thank you for this devotional, for following the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is truly the best way my day could have possibly started.
Deborah, I’m so sorry you were feeling like it wasn’t okay to feel. You are right, it is okay to feel. I’m so grateful God has given us our feelings. They tell us so many things and help us to empathize with others. Praying that you would continue to feel affirmed in this and that you would know and experience God’s deep feelings and love for you. I’m so glad you are connected here.
Kimberly Coney says
I am not a “new” Christian but not and “old” Christian either lol. I feel like I am a turtle going so slow and never going to get “it”. Do you know what I mean. I read, I study the Bible, attend church, serve in my church, attend Bible studies, but yet, I feel like my life is all topsy turvy in so many ways. I am failing and I feel like I’m falling off a cliff and just going through the “motions”. I am striving day by day to get God and I time and I specifically carve out this time in the morning. Like now. Ladies: I ask for prayer that I can put into action what I learn in church and bible study and in the WORD into my life. Thank you. Kimberly.
Thank you for sharing, Kimberly. Your honesty is a gift to others and I hope that you will know that it’s God who grows us and prunes and shapes us as we abide in Him. He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
We all struggle at times. We think we as women have to have things perfect. We don’t Jesus just loves the way we are. We all make mistakes. Sure I can remember all thoes years ago learning to drive and failing my driving test 4 times. My late Mum saying Dawn. In for it again keep trying you will get it eventually. Like you Tasha learning to ride the bike. You got it in the end. You learnt to ride the bike. Like me and my driving test I got it in the end. My problem was reversing round corners. My Mum like your Dad had patients with me. Jesus has patients with us all. Jesus says to us all don’t listen to the Devil. Who puts that voice in your head. That says you have to keep up with the world. Do it in the world time. No we are free to do it and learn in our own time. Jesus is by our sides all the way. Helping us. He will never leave up. He will help us get there in the end no matter how long it takes. We don’t have to do it the worlds way it not a race. When we do it Jesus way. We will find so much easier and be glad we done it Jesus way. Jesus will be glad also. As he will be a big Jesus smile down on us. We will also be glad we did it Jesus way not the worlds way. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Isn’t it wonderful to experience the patient love of God in others? I’m so very grateful for that and I hope and pray that I will reflect that same patience towards others. Thanks, Dawn!
Theresa Boedeker says
Yes this is counterintuitive to the culture of scarcity we live in. So glad we can move at God’s pace, which is often different from our expected pace.
Yes, me too, Theresa. I’m so very glad, and I’m grateful for the gift of continued growth.
Nancy Ruegg says
Thank you for highlighting the individuality of God’s training and his patience with us. My dad was another shining example of that kind of parent. He taught me how to drive stick-shift, and I was very clutzy with the clutch! But he never yelled or gave up on me. He demonstrated the compassion, grace, patience, and love of my Heavenly Father (Psalm 103:8 and elsewhere). Why are we so quick to forget and so hard on ourselves?!
We live in a culture that prizes achievement and accomplishment-and cheers for the quick version of these things. It’s hard to see that there’s another way sometimes. Thankfully, our Dads showed us this way by example. So grateful!
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
Dear Tasha,You always seem to write what my heart needs to read. Thank you ❤
I’m so glad that it met you. You are loved, Kathleen!!
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
I’m so glad to have met you. Thank you. You are loved too, Tasha!