Updated: Feb 2
No matter what your mode of transportation (plane, car, boat, train, etc.), intentionality with vision is key when it comes to a journey. Life is no exception. Our bodies are vessels, vehicles on planet earth, and what we fixate on is what we move toward—for better or worse.
I was about five or six when my dad taught me how to ride a bike. Excited and scared, I walked closely behind him down the driveway. He set the bike on the asphalt, and I sat in the seat as he told me what to do. Keep peddling.
Once I got the hang of it, he let go. Exhilaration flooded my tiny chest as the wind blew in my face and my feet spun as fast as pinwheels, but my eyes were fixated on the gutter. It looked like it could swallow me. I couldn't take my eyes away. I took my first tumble.
I didn’t sit there and cry because I was hurt—just because I was shocked. I failed.
I can’t remember my dad ever running faster to get to me. And when he got there, he wasn't distraught or disappointed that I fell. He was smiling. Picking me up and brushing my elbows and knees, he told me it was a good fall.
What did that mean a good fall? I fumbled up!
But Dad knew that the process of learning to ride a bike inevitably meant I would fall. He expected it. It didn’t surprise him. It wasn’t even a mistake to him; it was a teaching moment.
He told me that it was a good fall because of the way I landed—my posture. I landed on my hands and knees, not my face. And because I wore the hand and knee pads like he had told me to, the damage was minimal.
Not only was it not a surprise that I had fallen, but he had planned for this moment. He had already given me the protection he knew I would need before I needed it.
At that moment, my dad was illustrating the way God is with us. We are constantly learning (I know I am), and we are never finished. Life is about process, not perfection. And our Father sees and knows every fall we will ever take. He is prepared, and no "failure" of ours will ever surprise Him or let Him down because He knew in advance it was coming.
A lot of the time, I find myself thinking God has this expectation for me to succeed all the time, to never slip up, because that's an expectation I have for myself. When I make a mistake, I take it all on myself and go over what I did wrong a thousand times over in my head. But God is not nearly as condescending towards me as I am. He’s kind, gentle, loving towards me when I fall.
He’s smiling because He sees what I can’t yet: what I’ll learn and how I’ll become even more like Him after. That’s how grace works.
Already knowing every step of our way, God loves us. He’s already provided the grace we need for every misstep. He’ll always be right here, ready to hold us when we break and walk with us as we heal.
When I fell off my bike, after I had stopped crying, I told my dad about the gutter. "I was scared I would fall in," I said. My dad shared a truth with me that to this day I live by. He said, "You’ll go where you're looking. If you're staring at the gutter, that's the direction you’ll go in. If you look ahead, that's where you'll go."
There are gutters in life that we fight to avoid, terrified they will be the death of us; the folly of our lives. But the biggest mistake we could make would be giving those fears and anxieties more attention than they’re worth. What we focus on is what we inevitably live towards, even if we focus with the intent to avoid it.
So, where do you want to go?