Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Crossing Bridges

So there I was, bike over body, lying in the rocky and mercifully dry creek bed. How I got there is a bit embarrassing, but for the benefit of all I will share.

I was doing a little mountain bike trail riding with some friends last Saturday. An innocent enough venture for someone who has ridden a bike as much as I have. But as I approached the little wooden bridge, I hesitated, lost my momentum, and, focusing on the side that I did NOT want to ride off of, proceeded to do exactly that! My friends heard a grunt of sorts and turned around to see a bike tire and a foot rising up from the gully below!

Do I just like to tell self-deprecating stories? No, not really. It was sometime afterward as I was nursing some very minor injuries that the teachable moment struck me and the lessons began to unfold.

1) Momentum lost through hesitation can be nearly impossible to recover.

As I rounded the curve in the trail that led to the bridge, I slowed...let's be honest. I stopped. I stopped and thought about it. I looked at the slight downward angle of the trail, the unevenness at the edge of the bridge, the obstacles on either side, the rocks, the fallen tree - WHAT IF I FALL OF THE BRIDGE!!?? When I tried to roll forward from my stand still, I lacked sufficient momentum to roll smoothly over the bridge and up the other side of the ravine. Momentum is an extremely valuable commodity. Without it, you may get the same job done, but you'll have to work twice as hard. Had I just kept riding, this story would never have happened.

2) Fear will defeat you every time.

When you focus on your obstacles they ALWAYS seem bigger than they truly are. Fear saps your confidence and causes you to perform at a level well below your abilities. Fear keeps your attention fixed on the problem, rather than the solution. Fear tells you the thing you don't want to happen will. It is the exact opposite of faith. You cannot give fear a dwelling place in your soul and expect to make progress.

3) We will move toward whatever we focus on.

As I moved slowly and cautiously forward I did exactly what I knew NOT to do. Instead of looking toward my desired destination, I focused on the thing I hoped to avoid, thus propelling myself in that very direction. Your life will move in the direction of your most dominant thought. If you have a dream, a goal, a vision - a place you hope to be - begin to fix your focus on that instead of all the reasons it can't be done. With your gaze fixed, you will see that dream more and more clearly with each passing day, week, month...just watch.

If you will learn from my mistakes, I pray that you will find yourself crossing new bridges to exciting places rather than riding off the edges of them. Trust me, it's much more fun!