Why did you decide to do something so hard?

Last weekend I was drinking coffee in our church lobby when a guy named Brett walked up and introduced himself. First he asked why Monte wasn’t with me. Then he wanted to talk about my “crazy bike ride.”

I struggled to get past the fact that my identity at church is now apparently defined by a goofy-looking dog and a crazy bike ride. While I pondered my self-image, Brett pulled up a chair. He had some serious questions.

He asked about details and logistics. After I explained as briefly as possible there was a long, thoughtful pause. Finally he found the right words.

“Why did you decide to do something so hard?”

I’ve had this discussion dozens of times. You’ve read about some of them. But this was somehow different, because Brett wasn’t half-jokingly asking if I was nuts. I sensed he was seeking the answer within himself.

“Well, I think ‘hard’ was exactly the point, or a big part of it.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’d been riding my bike for more than ten years. When I started I enjoyed riding but it was incredibly hard, and I learned a lot about myself and my relationship with God when I stuck with it through the difficult parts.”

“Yeah. I read your book, Relentless Grace, and I got that. The biking was a big piece of your recovery.”

“It was, but eventually I reached the point where the hard parts weren’t really hard any more. I could keep riding around town and stay in shape and have fun, but the aspect of challenging myself and learning about God was gone. I’d reached the point where I could pretty much do it on my own.”

“That sounds like a good thing.”

“Well, it was certainly safe and comfortable, the kind of place we all think we want to be. But it wasn’t the dream. I wasn’t using my gifts and passions to serve others. And I believe God planted a seed of discontent that wouldn’t let me settle for safe and comfortable.”

“That’s it!” Brett exclaimed. “That’s exactly what I’m feeling. I’m settling for a safe life, and it’s not enough.”

“But…” I waited.

“But…I like safe. I want to take my faith seriously, I want to be challenged, but I like being comfortable.”

“So,” I smiled, “you want to be comfortably challenged, right?”

“Yeah,” he sort of hung his head. “And it sounds really dumb when you say it out loud.”

It’s not dumb at all,” I chuckled. “It’s exactly what we’re all looking for. We’re all trying to find a risk-free way to follow Jesus.”

“Yeah, and then something just grabs you and you realize you can’t have it both ways. That’s what your crazy bike ride has done to me.”

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to mess you up.” Thankfully, he was laughing.

“Yes, you did. You totally want to make us squirm. That’s why you’re doing this, right?”

“So are you going to join us?”

“No, biking isn’t my thing, but it’s not about biking, right?

“So can I ask one more question?”

“Sure,” I said.

“Is it as hard as it looks?”

“Honestly? It’s harder.”

We attend a big church. One drawback is that I don’t know everyone. I don’t know if Brett and I will cross paths again any time soon.

I shared this interaction because it seemed like a conversation you and I might have over a cup of coffee. That’s sort of how I think of this blog. I appreciate you being here.

I take mine black. You?

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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