In the most unlikely of places, this story begins–stranded on a country road with a flat bike tire. I was trying to catch up with my bike buddies on a recent Saturday morning. The weird thud, thud, thud, the rough turning of my back tire, the loss of traction all alerted me. I knew what it was. I pulled the bike over at the top of a hill. Let’s see…I have the stuff to replace a tube…but when was the last time I tried this? Anxiety began to stalk. I have never done this myself. I saw someone do it several years ago. Could I remember? I plow ahead hoping to figure it out on my own. A few awkward turns with the tire tool and the tool breaks. OK…that was a fail. I have another one. More prying at the tire to get it off the rim. The second tool breaks. OK…this is bad. I’m stuck. I need someone to get me home.
I call everyone I know…only voice mails. And then on a whim, I call a former student now out of college who lived in the area. He answered, said he could come, and…he could fix the flat. So there I was watching him man-handle it, 30 years my junior. He fixed it, but my anxiety lingered. I was uncomfortable, a familiar distress I have known all my life. It is the place of need. I should have known how, but didn’t. It’s an old haunt filled with images of shame, places where I needed to come through but couldn’t. I immediately shoved it down, got on my bike, found my buddies, and rode on.
But what I shoved down came up again the next morning as I was quiet before God. Romans 15:5 told me that the Scriptures are there to teach us. I saw that I needed teaching, coaching, mentoring from God and his Word. But that means I have to admit need. And then it hit. The old lie…I’m on my own to figure life out. I have lived with that so long and then felt shame that I couldn’t figure it out. I thought something was always wrong with me. Now I see that something was deeply wrong with my belief. I need to be mentored. And to hear God at times, I need to stay in that uncomfortable place where I feel awkward, unsure, untutored. I have run away from that for so long. In doing that, I have run away from the Father (and also from other men). But not that morning. I ran to him and simply stayed needy. It was weird and wonderful, a new sensation, a new road to travel. No more flat tire…instead it’s a pumped-up heart.