Everyone has heard the saying: “it’s just like riding a bike.” And it generally means that something is easy to do once you learn it, or that it’s difficult to forget once it is learned.
Well, I tested that theory on an actual bicycle. I hadn’t been on a bike in years. I never used my bike as a kid much because I didn’t live in a flat area. To be honest, after a couple of traumatic falls as a child when I would ride, I strayed from getting on one as an adult. I had given my bike away a long time ago.
But the beach we decided to stay at this year for our family vacation was bike friendly. Our friends that told us about the place encouraged us to bike, so we loaded up our vehicle with borrowed bikes.
One day, my mom wanted me to bike with her down to the store. Like the good daughter I am (sometimes), I hopped on a bike but immediately froze after she took off in front of me.
I had forgotten how to ride a bike!
She was looking back at me, and I knew I just had to start peddling. I just had to go. As I started to move, I wobbled from side to side and screeched “Mama, it’s not like riding a bike!” I just kept going and tried to steady it the best I could.
It was not an easy trek to the store. I struggled. My arms were tense the entire time. I kept worrying I was going to veer into the road. I felt so silly because I learned how to ride a bike as a kid. So, why was I struggling so much?
It got me to thinking. I had ridden a bike before, and stepped away from it for years. Going back to it was not as easy as I thought it would be, and riding a bike is much like serving Christ.
Let me explain.
Over the years I have heard many of the following sayings:
1) “Oh, I stopped going to church because of all the hypocrites.”
2) “I stopped praying because God wasn’t listening.”
3) “God and I aren’t on the best of terms these days.”
4) “I haven’t prayed in so long, I don’t even know how to anymore.”
And the list goes on. Just like how I stopped riding a bike for years, people who used to believe in God and His power, dropped their Bibles and walked away. They stopped going to church for various reasons. They stopped praying, and repressed everything they used to know. They were out of practice at being a Christian.
And for some, going back to all those forgotten habits seemed impossible, which was much like my biking experience to the store.
However, I made it to the store (even though I thought about calling my dad to pick us up multiple times). When it was time to head back, those pesky butterflies crept back into my stomach. Could I do it again?
And, guess what? I made it back to the house.
My ride back was ten times easier. After riding for a while, I felt the familiar ache in my knees. The breeze swept my hair back. I could notice the scenery instead of solely focusing on the ground. It wasn’t perfect because I still wobbled from time to time, but it was still much better than the initial “getting back on the bike” ride.
So, if you haven’t been to church in a long time, if your Bible has dust on it, and if your knees are not sore from kneeling to pray, don’t worry. The first time you walk in the church, open your Bible, or bow your head to say “Dear Father,” it won’t be easy. You might be out of practice, but you don’t have to be a perfect bicycle rider.
There is no perfect church because people are the church, and there is no such thing as a perfect person.
Whether your Bible is falling apart with highlighted pages, or looks brand new from when you first bought it, it’s the same Words.
There is no perfect, scripted way to pray. You may have forgotten how to pray, but God cares about what comes from your heart. The words “Dear Father,” whether they are out loud or silently, may sound bitter and foreign coming from your mouth.
But get back on that bike. Get back into practice, or maybe you never learned in the first place. There is no better time to start than the present!
Once you’ve dusted off the rust, that second ride will feel like everything you were missing in your life before. You can go back. You can get back on that bike, even if you wobble and stumble a few times as you are getting the hang of it again.
Proverbs 3:6 says “in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”
God will make your path in life straight, but you must come back to Him. It may be nerve-wracking at first, and it may not feel as familiar like “riding a bike.” Once you get past those initial few times, you will be cruising in God’s love and feel the familiar comfort of the Father again.