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Muddy Tires

Every once in a while I hear a statement that captures my attention and gets my mind racing. It happened recently with my son. He has taken up mountain biking as a hobby and decided to explore a new trail. It had snowed a couple of weeks before and temperatures had been fluctuating from mid-twenties at night to high forties during the day. He researched the trail on the internet and carefully planned his route. He didn’t take into account, however, the fact that the slowing melting snow would impact the trail. I asked him how his ride went.
His reply was, “I didn’t get very far. So much mud accumulated in my tires that they stopped moving. It was so thick I had to pick mud and rocks out of the tread. I finally had to just turn around, find a hose and ride home on the streets.”
We laughed about it as he told the story in great detail but the idea that accumulated mud stopped his progress wouldn’t go away. I started thinking about the ways this statement applies to my life.
• Life is intricate so it is hard to predict every obstacle. I may set goals, plan out a course of action, anticipate the challenges and still miss an important fact (like melting snow creating mud). Remaining flexible enough to make mid-course corrections is as important as being firmly committed.
• In this world, mud accumulates. When it is a little, it is not too difficult to deal with. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) We can “hose off” and get back on the trail without too much effort or agony.
• When a lot of mud gums up the works of my life, I must make significant decisions and put in concerted effort. “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8) If my son had stubbornly kept going, he would have had a very long day. He could have dug the mud out of his tires, rode a few feet then repeated the process but it would have needlessly exhausted him. He could have gotten off and pushed his bike along the trail but it would have defeated the purpose of trail riding. He could have gotten angry and put more effort into his peddling to overcome the buildup of the muddy obstacle. I am pretty confident that would have only wore him out without producing any better results. The best thing for my son to do was to turn around, learn from the misadventure and be wiser next time.
I think the reason this statement stood out to me is that I see so many people stubbornly refuse to make changes when change is obvious. We all battle with desires in our hearts that lead us to unproductive and unhealthy paths. We all hit obstacles despite our best intentions. We all face decisions that could needlessly complicate our lives and halt our progress. So often, we just keep moving in the same direction rather than admitting the mistake and turning around. It has now become one of my goals this year to admit to muddy trails as soon as I am aware of them.

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One Response

  1. Great word today, Bill! So true. This was especially poignant to me today, as I love mountain biking and used to race until I had an unfortunate encounter at age 30 with an erosion berm unexpectedly erected across the middle of a steep portion of a downhill single track that I was negotiating at high speed in the Santa Monica mountains – right behind a good friend of mine (so I couldn’t see it until I hit it)! After “flying through the air with the greatest of ease…” 20 feet over the handlebars like one of the Flying Zamboni Brothers, the commensurate sudden head-first landing on a large flat rock wasn’t so special: The resultant broken collar bone, cracked ribs, split trapezoid and severe concussion ultimately ended my racing days, but taught me some valuable lessons about trail riding and preparation that are applicable to many other areas of my life, as above.

    I especially like “In this world, mud accumulates”. True that. If we DON’T “hose off” regularly, the build-up becomes a serious issue and impediment in our lives and our progress towards achieving our goals and purpose for our lives is slowed and might even be suddenly halted by a berm!

    Moral of the story: Shower regularly! 😉

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