Once upon a time, I thought I wanted a bicycle. Nick heard me talking about it and surprised me with a pretty sweet vintage cruiser. It even had the 1978 bicycle permit on it from Orange County, California. In my joy, I set out to ride down to my favorite coffee shop. From our place to the coffee shop was not even two miles. It was only 98° outside with the sun shining down in August. Halfway through the ride, nausea set in and I got off the bike. Between the heat and the fact that it felt like the cars were aiming for me, I walked back home. Grabbing an ice pack out of the freezer for the back of my neck, I flopped onto the couch and started cooling off.
That was the last time I rode a bicycle. In all honesty, I’m done with them. The cars freaked me out and my constant bruises can tell you my coordination leaves much to be desired. Not for me. We sold the bike to our neighbor who gracefully rode it all over our neighborhood. A part of me was just glad someone was getting use out of it. Another part of me was highly embarrassed that she rode with such ease when I couldn’t. There may have been some jealousy, too.
That experience solidified something I was trying to ignore about myself. I like to succeed quickly. I hate trying new things that I am pretty sure I won’t be good at immediately. It’s a personality trait that I struggle with constantly since I really do like trying new things and experiencing new adventures.
Recently, I talked myself out of joining a gym and taking the kick-boxing class I really wanted to take because I knew I would not be good at it right away. I hear you saying, “Good, at working out? Is that even a thing?” Well, in my head it is. My step in the right direction was streaming a netflix video into my living room. Yes, now I can jab, cross, hook and uppercut slowly in sequence. I’m not particularly excited about sharing this with you, but it’s part of holding myself accountable. It’s also something I’ve been thinking about in the context of church.
My experience has taught me that we can try new things in church as long as they work well quickly. Too often, we expect results with little to no time passing and little to no room for the Holy Spirit.
New approaches (or just things we haven’t done in a while) can breath life into our faith and open the doors for people who need to know God’s love again or even for the first time. More often than not, it will not happen immediately. It will happen with a slow and steady commitment.
Now, back to my jab-cross-hook-uppercut routine.