We took a casual neighborhood ride yesterday after church. Before we left I did my usual check of the air pressure in my tires. Habit, I guess since my road bike can lose up to 10 lbs. of pressure in 3 days naturally. Having not ridden the mountain bike in a couple of weeks I found it to be significantly low. It depends on the terrain one traverses, but the higher air pressure makes for a much smoother ride on the streets of the neighborhood. Surprising, I guess, isn’t it- the higher the pressure, the smoother the ride.
          Not at all like life! People typically perceive higher pressure to mean a more difficult ride on the roads of life. No one likes stress, but we all feel it! Pressure and its synonyms – strain, anxiety, apprehension, concern, load and burden are sometimes recognized as the warning signs of impending doom. My life feels full of pressure right now- dealing with a move to Texas, a new church that I want to make a good first impression on, saying a healthy farewell to our current congregation, getting Jennifer ready to travel to India and us to endure her being away, and feeling like we desperately need to sell our current house! Yep- stress!
          Consider the bicycle wheel.           It is a particularly apt metaphor for stressful times when much needs to be done. You see the bicycle wheel is an amazing contraption. It really is the only thing between your head and the pavement if you think about it. The hub carries the spokes which reach out to control the rim nestling your tube full of air and the tire. The wheel is the part that seems to hold the vast majority of pressure and weight.
          But here’s the best part for those of us who sometimes feel overwhelmed by the pressures of our lives- as you ride along there is only one spot, one moment, one present which you can choose to control, and that is the place where your wheels actually touch the ground. Sure you can look up the road and prepare for what it coming your way, or you can even look behind and fret about what you’ve passed. But you can only control the ride at this one very moment where you are right now.
          The more I ride, the more aware I am of how the pressures of life revolve around the universe like air in my tires. But we cannot be anxious about what is to come, for God will grace us with that soon enough. Nor can we look back and trouble over what is past, for the promise of what is past is forgiveness. We must be open to the truth that we can only make a difference one moment, one decision, one choice, one present after another. Now, is now. We must be in the present! If we’re not present to where our wheels are right now, we will surely fall victim to gravity- and that will bring us tumbling down.
          Ride on friends, keep your head up, and the wheels down!

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