I learned how to ride a bike without training wheels in the second or third grade. On Saturday mornings, my dad would take me a few blocks away from the busy street in Tokyo where we lived to practice. He would hold on to 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.
A couple of years 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 then to learn and live, however slowly, from the foundation of that perfect love.Leave a Comment
Ruth Mills says
Yes indeed “the pace God has given us”! What a grace full truth that is! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you, Ruth!
Rhonda N. says
Thank you, Tasha! I love this great reminder of how fearfully and wonderfully made we are. That uniqueness gives us the freedom you talk about to be and to become all that our Creator intended.
Amen. Thanks so much, Rhonda!
What a marvelous reminder. It makes me think about all the verses on God’s timing. One in particular is Peter 3:8 ‘One day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ How I needed this reminder Tasha! I’m 66 years old and ride my bike all over my neighborhood, ringing my bell to my neighbors! It’s such a freeing feeling still and I am grateful beyond words to be able to still get on the bike and ride! Thank you for your insight.
Sharon Miller says
Awesome Dee!!!! Keep on riding!!! Praise God!!! I hope to be doing that well into my sixties and seventies too!!! God is so good!!!
I love that you ride your bike all over the neighborhood and have a bell to ring. I feel the joy in your words. Thanks so much, Dee!
Beth Williams says
I am what some would call a “late bloomer”. Didn’t follow the traditional path into life. It took many years to “find” myself. While most went right off to college, career, marriage & kids I was still living at home working full-time. In mid 20s I went & got my AA in business (that took 6 years). Finally moved out on my own in my early 30s. Got married 7 years later. Society in general probably laughs at me. Not God. He gives us freedom to move & learn at our own pace. He doesn’t have a timeline for activities in our lives. It’s never to late in His economy. Shoot my dad got baptized at 83.
Terry Law says
Thank you for sharing this Beth.
Amen! God makes all things beautiful in his time. His pace is good and we are not left without, within it!
I love this! Thank you, Tasha!
Terry Law says
What a great reminder! Thank you so much for writing about this. Hugs
You are so welcome, Terry.
Lately a lot worry and what its have dragged me down. I’m not in a place in my life where I thought I’d be. The Lord knew though. And He knows where He wants to take me and when. It’s just a matter of waiting and taking everything one day at a time.
What ifs (auto correct)
Sarah, it can be so hard when worries about timing weigh heavy. I know that feeling. You aren’t alone in the struggle or in the waiting and wondering. Praying for you right now – may you feel God’s nearness, know the beauty and goodness of his patient ways, and believe he loves to give you good things and delights in YOU.
Brenda M. Russell says
Thank you for sharing your story today with us. I thought I would never learn to ride my bike. I think it was too large for me to begin with, so I really had to be careful not to jump down the wrong way. Patience works both ways from me to others and from others to me. At least, that’s what I was told growing up. My husband did not get that memo.
Ladies, we have so much to unlearn from Society. Every female may not cook, clean, wash and iron. I had to learn all these things after marriage.
But, I am a very dedicated mother to my children, I am a great Secretary, I love doing errands for my Mother, I want my husband’s sports teams to win (even though I don’t understand the games), I am a good Bible Study Student, I have friends who allow me to be “Brenda” without apologies, and I truly like being around babies.
Now, I did learn to feed my family and do laundry. I am still working on becoming better with housekeeping.
There are so many things that were expected of me at age 21. I hope my girls don’t buckle under the weight of Society’s expectations. Life is so precious and taking a pause to thank our Creator for our blessings is a daily gift in my opinion.
Take one day at a time and learn to say “no thank you” and “maybe next time” and please remember to say, that doesn’t give me a peaceful feeling.
Live to please God and ask Him for guidance.
Brenda, thank you for sharing some of your story with us here – I love seeing the pursuit of God in your life – showing you how loved and uniqued made you are. Praise God.
That is a fantastic reminder. My mom and sister are go-ers, do-ers, never-sit-down-ers. Thats not me. Sometimes I feel less than compared to them.
I’m glad the article resonated with you, Kimmie. May you know your pace is good and you are no less than because of it. Hugs.
Jill Hendrickson says
I so needed this article today. I never feel like I am good enough. I always stress over Christmas, secretly hating it because it really magnifies that I don’t live up to other’s expectations. I am in counseling to change my life in my late 50s and am hoping that I will feel at peace soon. That with God seeming closer during this season that I will be filled with hope, joy and peace.
Jill, I’m grateful these words met you in a time of need and I pray that the truths would stay sticky in your mind and heart. I’m praying for you right now, asking God to give you rest, supernatural peace, and a still heart this season. I pray God would guard your heart from expectations that aren’t from him. Way to go on pursuing counseling – that is brave and beautiful and I’m cheering for you.
Robin Dance says
Reading this made me consider how the experiences of our youth continue to inform and shape the stories of our entire lives. Living them helps us to learn, be transformed, and understand more of who God is. The way you connected the dots from insecurity to freedom is beautiful! I love being challenged to look for the ways God is at work, and has always been at work, in my life! xo