Last Saturday I went away with my best friend, my husband, to Crosby to go biking on the Cuyuna Trails. There are miles of trails, with views of the goreous mining lakes and beautiful forests. I envisioned a leisurely bike ride, time to enjoy the views and time for conversation.
We loaded up our bikes and headed out. When we got to Crosby and unloaded our bikes, we found that we had a choice to make. Should we take the paved trail that we'd already biked on a few years back, or should we take the dirt trail? I could tell that Craig wanted to explore, so I agreed to "hit the dirt" trail. Little did I know the challenges that lay ahead. We missed the sign that said, "more difficult." We hadn't gone far when we realized that this was no leisurely riding trail. The trail was narrow, and there were often rocks, roots, and stumps on the trail. The trail was also windy, with lots of switchbacks. We had to be careful to stay on the trail, because if we veered off we'd end up tumbling down a steep hill if we didn't hit a tree first.
We did find several spots where we could stop, catch our breath, and view some spectacular scenery. There were also road maps along the way, and more decisions - do we take the "more difficult" trail, or the "most difficult" trail? Should we keep going or turn back? I felt a real sense of accomplishment when we reached the paved trail at the end.
1. Just as we had a choice between the wide, easy path or the narrow, more difficult path... we have choices in life. Do we take the easy way out? In school do we only take easy classes so we don't have to work too hard? Do we choose a job that's probably boring but is easy, not too much work? Do we stay silent because we'll be ridiculed or challenged if we speak the truth?
2. When life is difficult do we persevere, or do we turn back and quit?
3. If we take the easy path, we miss out on some special things. We miss out on the best views. We miss out on the feeling of a job well done, a fear conquered, a new experience... we miss out on the abundant life God promises.
4. When we were biking on the dirt trail we had to stay focused on the trail, we didn't have much time to look around. If we didn't keep our eyes on the trail, we could end up hitting something and we'd get hurt. We couldn't look back, only ahead. In life we need to keep our eyes focused on the road so that we can avoid the rocks, roots and stumps that could hurt us like temptations, bad habits, friends who aren't good friends, etc.
5. We took time to get off the trail, rest, and enjoy the view. The same is true in life. Every once in a while we need to stop, pull off the trail, and rest. We need to stop to see the beauty and blessings around us. We need to "stop and smell the roses." Have a drink of water - drink of the living water that only God gives.
6. Finally, we celebrated a job well done. We finished the trail. It felt so good to have gone the distance, to persevere in spite of my fear, in spite of how tired my muscles were, in spite of the difference between the path I thought we were going to take and the one we explored.
And what about Craig? He loved every single minute of it. The trail was exactly what he wanted- challenging, fun, beautiful.
We had a great Saturday morning together.