Yesterday afternoon our family joined close friends for a 5 mile bike ride along our city's river. It was a gorgeous day and all seven combined children are fairly proficient on their bikes---but still--it was a bit of an adventure.
We zipped along the riverside path with yahoos, giggles and the occasional wobble. I was in Drill Sargent mode, shouting commands to STOP, MOVE TO THE RIGHT or GO with no time for fanfare or even much encouragement. I care for all these little people. I wanted them to have fun, but most importantly I wanted to insure they were safe.
As a 'responsible party' I enjoyed myself, but I would not describe it as a relaxing ride. I was ever on guard for potential hazards--pedestrians, dogs, large rocks, sandy places along the path... I was constantly surveying the landscape, but also assessing the children--who was getting too aggressive, who was straggling.
We made it--with a sense of accomplishment and stories to tell.
The return trip, however, was completely different. I needed a head start at home to prepare for a few dozen Young Life leaders so, P and I left the pack and returned early.
The trip back, with just one child, was amazing.
Rather than the straight line formation, there were many places along the trail where P & I could ride side by side.
I let him determine our pace...sometimes it was slow and steady...other times it was fast and free.
When we encountered tough climbs I could focus on encouragement.
When he wanted to get off and walk a minute, that was fine too.
And even though it was the exact same trail in reverse, the experience was vastly different because it wasn't about the group anymore, it was personal.
I know it makes me weird that I have thoughts like this during Sunday afternoon bike rides...but I had a real aha moment with the Lord.
Not only was this excursion a reminder of how critical one-on-one time is with our children, spouses and other meaningful relationships in our life---it resonated in my soul as the reason daily quiet time with my God is so important.
In a group setting, my tendency is to compare myself (especially my inadequacies) to the proficiency of the rest of the group...where do I rank in speed, agility, service, godliness, maturity... I feel like the straggler, wobbling around on my bike--just trying to make it through this life without too many wipe outs and bloody knees.
But when I find myself on the path with just the Lover of my Soul? I am free to fly around corners, or confess my desire to slow down and just breathe. He is no longer just a Drill Sargent voice in the crowd of my life...He is my loving Savior, my heavenly parent with whom I can talk about the landscape or simply enjoy travelling with in quiet spaces.
“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” ― Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Intimacy is a product of intentional time and space. It is true with our spouses, our children, our friends and our Lord.
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8