Do the Miles
It seems to me that almost every book I read involving any sort of adventure starts in a very similar way. The hero of the story finds himself drawn into an unbelievable circumstance or chain of events that lead him into a fantastical adventure. The seemingly simple everyday man is suddenly thrust into action and responds in ways that he never thought possible. While this type of story is exciting to read or watch this is almost never the way it happens in real life. In most real stories, when faced with impossible circumstances most of us would react in a way that we would not be proud of, with very few exceptions. I think the reason for this is simply because we have not prepared ourselves for the adventures we imagine.
I just turned thirty and while I understand that thirty is not an old age, I still feel unaccomplished and feel that there is something lacking in my life. For instance, I always felt very strongly that I would be in some sort of missionary service by now, most likely here in the states but in the very least I thought I would have been out of the country sharing my Jesus at least once. It has not happened. Who is there to blame? Should I blame God for not giving me opportunity to go? Should I blame family for not being on board? Should I blame the dog? I mean, the dog has to eat! Sadly, no. I must place the blame squarely on my own shoulders. The thing is, that I have always kind of expected to just fall into some opportunity that could not be avoided, like the protagonists in the books I read, I felt that one day I would wake up and head to work to somehow be pulled from my ordinary life, into another one all together. After a time, I have learned that it has been my lack of focus and preparation that has been holding me back. God has surely called me into a form of service for him, after all I am a Christian and all of us have been called to serve Him. The thing is I have been reluctant to put in the work, to do the miles, so to speak.
A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend, we are planing a bicycle tour of the Apalachicola National Forest in February. The tour itself should be quite a good time, and it will take an endurance I don’t have at my disposal right now. The conversation bounced around routes and daily plans. As I was leaving I mentioned that I wanted to keep riding my bike to work throughout the winter just because I like it that much. When I ride it makes me feel better about myself and the day feels, on the whole, like it goes a lot smoother than when I drive. He replied, “Yeah and at some point, you will start to think that you gotta do the miles to be ready for February.” You gotta do the miles… I had no idea what those five words would do to my thought process over the next few weeks but it has culminated into the realization that this will become my motto for life in all aspects. When it comes to my hobby of cycling I keep reminding myself, “You gotta do the miles.” When it comes to my family life I will remind myself when I want to be selfish, “You gotta do the miles.” When it comes to work and I wanna just walk out the door and never go back I will remind myself, “you gotta do the miles.” When it comes to God’s will for my life I will no longer complacently sit and wait for opportunities to fall into my lap… “you gotta do the miles.”
Without preparing myself for that long ride coming up in February I will not only let myself down, I will drag others down with me. Without preparing my heart and mind to share the gospel, I not only miss out on a great blessing from God, I also let Him down. Studying the Word, praying for my family and the lost, helping those who are less fortunate than I, or those who have squandered away gifts given to them, are just a few ways that I can do the miles in my spiritual life.
Sometimes it will be painful and monotonous but preparation is never the fun part of the journey. Its just the most essential.
So the first lesson I have learned from my life on two wheels is to simply, DO THE MILES!