“Mom! Mom! Mom!” I see my five-year-old happily running towards me. “I rode Gabriel’s bike! WITHOUT training wheels!!!”
“Good job! That’s awesome!”
“Can I call dad and ask him to take off my training wheels? Please mom! Please!!!”
Wow! My little girl is ready to ride her bike without training wheels. Not that I didn’t see this day coming, but I didn’t realize she would be the one telling me she was ready before I was ready for her to do it.
Just a few weeks ago, she brought me the only pair of tennis shoes she owns that contain laces. “Mom, I’m ready to learn how to tie shoes. Please teach me.”
WHAT! No! You don’t even wear those shoes. Put them back. Put on your flip-flops.
But why would I hold my daughter back from growing when she is so clearly interested and ready?
The answer- because I don’t want to do it right now. Sometimes it’s easier just to keep things the way they are. Let her use her bike with training wheels. Then I know she’s not going to fall. Make her keep wearing shoes without laces, then I don’t have to take the time to teach her a task that doesn’t exactly come naturally. Then getting ready to leave will only take 1 minute instead of 5 while she tries to tie her shoes.
But by doing this, what am I accomplishing? Nothing. I get to be lazy for a few more days. Luckily for me, (or not so luckily…) she’s persistent. She wants to learn to tie her shoes, she’s going to remind me to practice with her every day. She wants to ride her bike without training wheels, she will just ride her brother’s bike.
My daughter is fearless, determined, persistent… and she’s five. She’s never expressed concern about what if I fail, or what if I can’t? She keeps trying. She keeps practicing. And when she falls, she gets up and does it again.
No matter how much I want to, how hard I try- life will happen. She will grow. She will strive to move forward. Who am I to force her to keep those training wheels on?
How many times in my life have I let the fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of being unable affect me? Too many? I like comfortable. I like knowing what’s going on. I like control. But my own desires for comfort and control can actually prevent me (and my children) from growing.
Let’s just take praying out loud for example. I grew up in a religion that was a lot of memorized prayers. When we prayed over the meal, everyone said the exact same prayer. When it was time for bed, we had a selection of about 4 prayers to choose from. Sadly, I never learned anything past saying these memorized prayers. They were comfortable. They were easy. They were a check off the list, now-go-about-your-day prayer.
When my husband suggested praying together, it was scary. Seriously, I didn’t know what to do. I pretty much just let him pray and said “Amen.”
The enemy tried to get in my head. He tried to convince me it was unnecessary to grow. My prayer life was just fine the way it was. He tried to cause me to stumble.
Learning to open up and pray out loud was so uncomfortable… no one would ever notice if I didn’t do it… it’s personal… All the reasons not to do, but I could still feel God pulling me in this direction.
Praise God that He put opportunities in front of me to grow in prayer! He surrounded me with people who were willing to teach me and guide me. He provided the resources to help me learn and become comfortable. Once I was willing to pray out-loud, my relationship with God truly grew in a whole new and beautiful direction.
My flesh wanted to rely on my training wheel, but when those training wheels came off I was free.
If I had chosen to stay in my comfort zone, I would not be willing to pray out loud at all. I would not walk up to a hurting person and offer to pray for them. I would not be willing to pray over my husband and my children. I would have not grown towards God. I would have been stuck.
We all have stumbling blocks. The enemy- he’s sneaky. Maybe your stumbling block- like mine- is prayer. Maybe it’s attending church regularly, or maybe it’s participating and not just going through the motions. Maybe it’s fellowship. Whatever your stumbling block-lean into God, and let go of your training wheels.
There’s going to be stumbling blocks. The enemy does not want us growing towards God. But God is consistent, persistent, and faithful. When we have our eyes on Him, we will grow towards Him. We will get past these stumbling blocks. We will not rely on our training wheels.
When we take off the training wheels, we learn to let the Holy Spirit take the handle bars. We learn to trust and obey God. Instead of relying on what we know, we are willing to step out in faith, help another, pray for the stranger, witness to the man on the street, show love to others.
Life is going to happen. Don’t be the reason someone else stumbles. Take off your training wheels and allow your daughter to do the same!
Everyone who lives on milk is still an infant, inexperienced in the message of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained their sensibilities to distinguish good from evil.