Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bike seats and mayonnaise...

The easiest route in life always produces the most satisfaction - no Sir. The hardest route in life always produces the most satisfaction. Hard roads are not fun and seem to add frustration and pain to our lives. Sometimes we take those routes accidentally and sometimes we do them on purpose. Either way, they are tough, rough, hard and not often liked. However, when you finish them you are always more satisfied and you usually have a good story to tell, or at least, an exaggerated experience to share.
In high-school, in my youth group, my Youth Pastor would have us “earn” the privilege of riding 500+ miles on a bicycle trip each summer (not over the whole summer, but in 6 days!). We would have to earn enough points during the school year to be able to attend the bike trip for free. We had to be consistent in several areas: Bible reading, prayer time, scripture memory, church attendance and youth activities. Obviously, his focus was to help us become consistent in our Christian walk, which is a great thing.
We would have to prepare for the trips by riding by ourselves regularly and then ride three Saturday team trips each increasing in length from 25 to 50 to 75 miles. You heard me, miles, not feet or yards. We had to ride on a small bicycle seat for lots of miles in preparation and then we had to ride up 90 miles in a single day on the trip. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Everything would hurt by the time the first day was done and we would literally be just diving into a bed - wait, we slept in sleeping bags in church auditoriums and gyms on the trip. We would get so hungry as we rode, that I ate mayonnaise straight up from a spoon several times, when we stopped for breaks. They were very tough.
I went on three of these trips and I had pain each time, but the lessons I learned have helped me the rest of my life. Not only did I learn o be faithful to the Lord during my everyday life, but I found out that the hardest route truly does bring the most satisfaction. 
How many people can say they rode on three 500+ bicycle trips?
I learned how to lead, on those trips. I learned how to earn rewards, because of those trips. I learned how to endure, because of those trips. I learned how to be focused, on those trips. I learned how to be determined, on those trips. I learned that you don’t give up, because of pain, on those trips. I learned how to work as a team, because of those trips. I learned that we all go through trials, and we can get through them, because of those trips. I realized rewards come at the end of the tough route - we always went to something really cool at the end of each trip - white water rafting one year, jet boat ride another and Cedar Point amusement park on my final trip.
Lessons Learned: The hardest route in life ALWAYS produces the most satisfaction. 
Thoughts: What is your hard road right now? Have you looked back to see what you learned form the last hard route?

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