Things I’ve learned while riding my bicycle :

  • People are really mean and hateful when they can do it on a hit and run basis. They can scream at you, call you names, tell you they’re right and you’re wrong, try to enforce the traffic laws when they don’t even know the traffic laws, get so close to you they almost run you over they’re so hell bent on making sure you know how wrong you are.
  • I am people.

I was riding along on the beach road, minding my own business, when an SUV got so close to me, I yelled for them to move over. Florida law is to give cyclists 3 feet of room. I was riding with traffic, also Florida law. The woman driving the SUV proceeds to yell at me for riding all the wrong way, not stopping at stop signs ( I admit I don’t stop, I yield and if a police officer wanted to give me a ticket, I’m sure he’d be right and I’d be wrong ). As she yelled at me, she got closer and closer to me with her giant SUV, so angry she was willing to risk running me over and killing me! She would have gone to jail for the rest of her life because she was right and I was wrong! I was assaulted by a stranger. I was so angry!

Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. (‭Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭31‬ NASB)

Then it happened. One of those “thus says the Lord” moments.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭18‬ ESV)

I have not been living peaceably with all. At. All.

I have been living like a self righteous jerk for awhile now. I don’t even know how long? At least since I decided to move to Arizona. So 4 months?

There’s the cute blonde running girl I see every week in the morning on my rides who doesn’t follow any of the rules of road etiquette. Three of the last four times I’ve screamed at her, assaulting her with why she’s wrong and I’m right. I even nicknamed her “my nemesis”. Oh yes I did. I didn’t assault her this week because I was already realizing I’m wrong to assault anyone for not doing things my way. And nemesis? Really?

And don’t even get me started about my job. I have a million ways of doing things that are better or more right than the way they do things. And when they don’t do things my way, I walk around angry and hateful.

I think the whole almost getting run over by a crazy woman in an SUV thing was so the Lord could get my attention. I’m Holy Spirit hearing impaired. He allows stuff. I was getting to the right conclusion on a very round about, painfully slow road.

Today, I abruptly reached the end of the road. Don’t know why? Don’t really care why. I didn’t die. Praise the Lord! Being right is not that important.

Happy Wednesday!

Thankful to link with SDG and Jennifer.

transformed by renewing my mind_day 16

My younger called me at work to tell me exciting news. Since I was at work, I had to phone him later. In the meantime, I dreamed up his exciting news to be what I wanted. In my selfishness, I dreamed his exciting news would be he got a full time job. This led to the thrill of thinking I could have my finances all to myself again.

When I phoned him back to hear his exciting news, I was overwhelmingly unenthusiastic to learn he’s decided to try to get into the nursing program at his school. As soon as I realized my silence, I did my best to recover and express joy and excitement for his news. Because it is exciting for him. He’s such a good kid. I’m so happy he’s found something to pursue. And I know he will be a good nurse.

But instead of being unabashedly happy for him, my default was to think how this will affect my life. I am ashamed to tell you I told him what I was secretly hoping his news would be! Just when I think I can’t suck more as a person, I sink to a whole new low.

Not only am I sinning against him, I am sinning against God. This is my purpose right now, to support this kid while he gets an education.

Dear God how long am I going to get it wrong? How long am I going to be this awful selfish person? Forgive me! You gave me these amazing people to raise, to love, to support, and I love them so much. Yet I’m still more worried about me. I sit here and think I’m doing so much better with them, yet I’m doing things exactly the way I never wanted to do them. I have no excuse! Jesus I need you!

His… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

This is day 16 of #Write31Days.

All posts can be found here.

small things

I prayed for a stranger named Mike today.

When I got on the bike this morning, I turned on Spotify to the All Sons and Daughters radio station, hit “start workout” on the MapMyFitness app, and headed north toward the lighthouse instead of circling around 14 times over by the beach.

As I rode, my thoughts turned to God. I’ve had a very quiet year since coming home from Africa. He basically told me to stop striving to prove myself to everyone, to Him. He reminded me I didn’t need to work for Him to make Him love me, I already had His love. No amount of striving was going to change His amount of love for me.

So I listened for a change. Oh, I’ve had a few hiccups and missed steps, trying to plan big projects when He said take a year to rest, feeling useless, self absorbed because I haven’t tried to do a thing.

What I’ve learned over the last year is in all my striving, working, trying to prove my worth by doing huge things for God, I lost the ability to be okay with who I am. Okay, I’ve never been okay with who I am. I’ve always tried to be who everyone else wants me to be. Because if I were just smarter, cuter, stronger, friendlier, funnier, I would be okay, I would be accepted, included, invited.

What has actually happened over the last year is I’ve stopped long enough to take care of me. I started riding a bike, lost over 30 pounds, rested from all the striving, had a physical, taken naps, enjoyed my boys, went for some counseling, decided to stop pretending my mental health was actually healthy. I’ve finally accepted that even in my ordinary, everyday life God can use me for His glory. I just have to be willing to let Him.

Back to the bike ride. I simply said, “God use me today.” I haven’t prayed those 4 words in a very long time. Oh, I’ve done things for God in my strength. And the things I’ve done were good. I served Him. But I do believe I served Him with my own agenda. Somewhere over the last few years I left Him out of the equation. I didn’t do it on purpose. I didn’t even realize I did it. But looking back, I know I did. It’s like that part where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats. The goats thought they were serving God, but they had their own agenda.

I continued north past the lighthouse, every now and then saying, “God use me today.” I thought about how the simplest, smallest acts of love can change the course of another person’s day. I thought about wanting to do small things with great love. When I rode 7 miles, I turned around to head south toward home.

As I approached mile 13 of mile 14, I saw something that looked like fallen branches or trash bags, some in the road, some near the curb. “What is that?” I wondered. I could see another cyclist pass by the ‘debris’. When I got close enough to see clearly, there was a man laying on the sidewalk, a duffle bag in the road. I stopped. “Are you okay?” He told me an odd tale of someone touching him with some kind of magical chemical that made him not able to see, making his head feel strange. I asked him if he wanted me to call 911 for help. But he said it wasn’t an emergency. He was waiting for a ride so he could go to church for help.

I stayed with him for a bit, reassured him the bus would be coming. Then I asked him his name. He hesitated, looking at me with mistrust in his eyes. I offered him my name first. Then I asked him if I could pray for him to be healed. He said yes. He hesitated when I laid my hand on his shoulder and prayed in Jesus name for healing. He thanked me.

I got back on my bike and rode home, marveling in the God who sees me, sees Mike, hears my prayers, and answers.

His… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

Linking with The Weekend Brew.