Last Sunday I had to replace a tire on Nils' bike. It had worn through. Tires that small are impossible to find. Thankfully, a good friend from church had some extras. While replacing the tire, Nils asked if he could have his training wheels off; Anders was already expressing interest in trying to ride without his. Anders had tried last summer, but I had pushed him into it a little too much, and he wasn't confident enough to try it.
Now, they both seemed to be ready. Admittedly, I had expected Nils to be able to ride without training wheels before Anders. He moved up to a two-wheel scooter this spring and has great balance. He has the potential to be a great gymnast if he was born in a family who could afford it.
Anyway, they were both ready to try without the training wheels. And they both did remarkably well on their first attempt. Nils was actually riding down the side walk with me walking beside him, not holding on to him, as Beth drove home from work. The neighbors were impressed and thrilled that Beth got to see it. They've both been practicing some all week, and I'm trying not to push it too much with them. Nils requested his training wheels put back on this morning so he could ride without someone having to help him start and stop all the time. That'll give me more opportunity to work with Anders, anyway.
Riding a bike requires two things: confidence in yourself and trust in the person who's helping you. I suppose it requires protective gear, plenty of practice and persistence and a bike, of course. But confidence and trust are good lessons to work off.
To accomplish or succeed at anything, we need confidence in ourselves. That confidence comes when we root ourselves in the knowledge of who God created us to be. We need to build ourselves up in the fact that God loves us more deeply and more passionately that we can ever know. That keeps us humble, preventing overconfidence, yet bold, knowing that God gives us the strength to do whatever He calls us to.
We also need to trust the One who will help us do what He calls us to do. That goes without saying, but sometimes we forget (I'm including myself in this) that He empowers us to do whatever is in His will for us to do.
With practice, following God is like riding a bike, so take off your training wheels.
(And I totally have to give credit to Amy Mingo on the photos as I'm always running alongside and can never get a picture of my own taken of the boys)