Yes, I'm a Middle-Aged Man Who Still Falls Off His Bicycle
Quick editorial note: I wrote the following article about a year ago, but since Spring has arrived and I have once again taken to riding my bicycle, I thought it pertinent that I remember what happened the last time I attempted such a thing. Enjoy!
With the first few peeks of Spring we've had this week, my family and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather (while it lasted) and spent some time outdoors. Our boys have really been itching to get back on their bikes, and we just couldn't pass up this perfect opportunity. However, I quickly realized that gone are the days where they were just satisfied with riding up and down the sidewalk by our house. Due to their newfound desire to explore beyond our street, I begrudgingly pulled all of our bikes from the deepest corner of the garage, dusted them off, and aired up the tires.
I need to quickly pause here and explain something. About ten years ago I got it in my head that I just had to have a racing bike like the ones you see in the Tour-de-France, only muuuuch cheaper. I soon realized that fat guys aren't meant to ride bikes like that, which is why it quickly found its way to the back of the garage. Now, if you've never been on a racing bicycle then you may not know that the seat position is significantly higher than on traditional bikes - so much so that when you take your feet off the pedals they don't touch the ground. What this means is that getting on and off that kind of bike is, at least for me, not a graceful process. Okay. Back to the story.
There we were, one cute happy little family, riding our bikes through the neighborhood, when suddenly a car turned up the street going just a little too fast. My boys did exactly as they had been taught and quickly got over to the sidewalk and stopped. However, considering how proud I was that I had actually managed to get up on my bike in the first place and not wanting to push my luck a second time, I decided not to follow my boys' example. Figuring I could slow down just enough to stay close by the kids and maintain my balance until the car passed, I gently applied to brakes and steered my way over to the sidewalk. It didn't work out.
In all its slow-motion glory, and with multiple people outside to witness it, I ended up slowing down just a hair too much and lost my balance. Just before I was able to get a foot firmly planted, my legs got tangled up with the pedals, and I tumbled to the ground, narrowly missing a brick mailbox.
It was at this very moment while sprawled out in the grass with my bike on top of me, with my neighbors trying to suppress their giggles, and my boys having lost any illusion of me being the "cool dad," that the following verse came to mind:
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2, NIV)
I certainly experienced the disgrace part and God was more than happy to teach me some humility, but I think I still might be waiting on the wisdom. Maybe God was trying to teach me something about what it really means to be an out of shape dad who can't keep up with his kids. Surely not! While I'll keep praying about what wisdom I am to gain from that particular humbling experience, I am more than happy to recognize that I need that verse for so many other areas of my life.
For example, I sometimes become prideful when I hear others preach or teach from God's Word. On more than one occasion, I have thought to myself while sitting in a Bible study, That person doesn't know what those verses really mean! Maybe I'll speak to him/her after we're done and point out what was missed. I bet I even have time to look up a couple of the original Greek words to give some added depth. Plus, that would be really impressive! You know what? I think I should just teach the lesson the next time. I know. I sicken me too.
It is a dangerous thing when, in pride, we are more concerned about what we think we know instead of how much we have yet to learn. When we adopt that type of attitude, we may unknowingly be heading towards a precarious situation that will end in a humiliating and painful fall.
When you get on your knees in prayer, do you ask God to teach you something new? When you take time to study God's Word, do you do so in the hopes of finding new truths and wisdom, or are you just trying to get your daily Bible reading checked off your to-do list? When you start each day, do you adopt a humble attitude, not being overly confident in your own strength and abilities?
Today, I'm walking around with a few scrapes and bruises, but I'm actually thankful for them. They are reminding me of the need for constant humility and Godly wisdom. Being humbled isn't necessarily fun, but it is certainly better than disgrace, and when I am humble, the blessing is that God will grant me more of His wisdom. I'll take that deal any day.