Teaching a 3-year-old to ride a bike…and other reflections! Number 5 in Nathan Dring’s series of blogs

Welcome to number 5 of these short blog posts. If this is your 1st one, then here’s a quick outline.

Each day in lockdown I have been taking our daughter Daisy (aged 3.5) out for a bike ride and as we travel along, I have a few phrases that I noticed I repeat a lot. I’m taking one phrase at a time and unpacking it a bit…to see if there is something in the phrase that might encourage us, show us something of God and help us a little in our walk with (or toward) Jesus.

“Don’t look down!”

I am not sure whether Daisy is intrigued as to what is going on with her legs, concerned that the pedals will fall off or is just intrigued by the gear ratio between the front and back cogs…but so often when she is on her bike, she looks down at her feet. Now, if you want to be safe as you cycle and you want to avoid crashing, clearly this is not a great idea, so I tell her…Don’t look down!

She looks up again and enjoys the ride, the views, the fun of it all. We chat, we laugh, she tells me things she would like to do…and then…looks down again! Once again…Don’t look down!

Again, as I sit and think about this phrase, there is such a resonance with how I can be in my life and in my walk with Jesus. Not all the time, but sometimes my head is down. In this blog I am not writing this in reference to feeling sad or low – but rather sometimes I can focus on the mechanics, rather than the big picture. What are the day to day, moment by moment things I am doing? I can get fixated on these. Frustrated by these. Excited by these. But in making them too big of a focus for too long, I have stopped looking up. Taken my eyes of the big picture and the plan God has for me.

Being really honest with you, I sometimes do the same as Daisy – I stop the chat (with God), I share a bit less joy, I stop telling him what I’d like to do.

Why? Is it because I love Him less or trust Him less? Not at all. I have just started to look down… at the mechanics of my life, rather than enjoy the chat and the journey with the creator and designer of my life.

A few years ago, at Word Alive, I had the great privilege of meeting and hearing the leadership teaching of Andrew Heard – founding Director of an organisation called Geneva Push (worth taking a look!) He made a really interesting point that, when people get too hung up on the mechanics of church – the choice of songs, the type of chairs, the quality of the coffee etc. – then they have lost sight of the big picture… The mission of God, the gospel of Jesus. They are looking down.

Whilst I liked it, it also made me shift in my seat. How often have I done this? How often have I taken my eyes off my Father God, the plan He has for me and the conversation He longs to have with me… just so I can look at the mechanics of it all (personal life, church life, work life)?

Too often probably!

Maybe it is human nature.

Maybe you are tempted to do the same

Maybe you are doing the same

So here is my encouragement to you, and the encouragement of the voice of God through scripture – Psalm 121, telling us, no matter what you are going through or feeling…Don’t look down!

 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

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