A Note from Kelly King: I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of motorcycles. I’m also not a fan of giving up control. So, today’s article by Sheila West was a poignant reminder that as a leader, I must lean into the Lord and trust Him not only with my day, but with my life.
Technically, since I ride on a motorcycle behind my Honey (my husband) and I am a mother, I guess I could be called a “Motorcycle Mama.” But before you conjure up an image of an athletic, daring individual who feels motorcycle riding is the definition for “born free,” let me say that I believe I am more accurately a “Motorcycle Wimp.” In other words, I am a chicken. What can I say? My mind just tells me there is something dangerous about riding motorcycles. So, why do I willingly climb on the back of a souped up machine, expose myself to the elements, and experience “bun” fatigue and helmet hair? Quite simply, the love of my life loves motorcycles.
Several years ago we took a motorcycle trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. On our first day, I sat apprehensively behind Honey as he maneuvered around one twisty, hairpin curve after another (a motorcyclist’s dream ride, but a wimp’s nightmare). Honey said, “Sweetheart, motorcycle riding isn’t about getting to a destination, but the joy of the ride. Relax! Don’t be afraid of the curves. You have to trust that the tires on this bike are glued to the road. Just lean into me. Have confidence in me. I know what I am doing.”
I mounted the motorcycle with a new resolve to chill out. That is, until a decreasing-radius curve took Honey by surprise. I sensed Honey slowing down as he leaned! And leaned! And leaned! It seemed my heart was stuck in my throat blocking my impulse to cry out. Then, I felt the footpeg hit the pavement. My body recoiled. Everything that was in me screamed “Straighten up!” In other words, lean away from the curve. I wanted to take control—to right the bike by my own will.
But even in my limited understanding, I knew that following my own will spelled disaster. My human survivalist instinct gave in to truth: the only way to get through this curve safely was by leaning into Honey.
Life and ministry lesson: As we continued down the curvy mountain road, I kept hearing, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). You see, it’s not just motorcycle riding that takes you into unexpected curves, but life and ministry do as well. I don’t know about you, but I have found myself tooling down the road enjoying the thrill of serving Jesus only to come to a point of wondering, “Why am I putting myself through all these challenges?”
What challenges? Have you ever found the obstacles of getting things done steeper and deeper as you navigated through them? Have you ever found yourself struggling to gain control? Have you ever felt pressured by people and projects or caught off guard by the unexpected? My human instinct can scream, “Lean to your own understanding,” and I want to set things right by the power of my will. At times like these, my human survivalist instinct needs to give way to truth: the only way to get through this curve (challenge) safely is by leaning into God. Leaning requires really believing God is in control. In the Amplified Version of the Bible, “believe” is explained as “adhere to, trust in, and rely on.”
So learn the ART of leaning into God by:
Adhering to His Word. It is the glue that keeps us secure no matter what challenges catch us off guard.
Relying on the spiritual skills you have learned along the journey to be His wisdom for effectively maneuvering through the challenges.
Trusting in His ways, not relying on human instincts to right situations.
When you keep your focus on Him and stay in the moment, the answer to that question, “Why do I keep putting myself in these challenging situations?” is quite simple. The FIRST love of my life, Jesus, loves women. And, so do I.
Sheila has been involved in women’s ministry for over 35 years, serving as Director of Women’s Ministry for over 20 years in the local church. She is presently on staff at Heritage Community Church, Fruitland Park, Florida as Director of Administration as well as serving as Director of Women’s Ministry. She is the founder of Real Living Ministries, a speaking, teaching, and leadership development ministry to women. Sheila is also a contributing author to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level. Sheila has appeared on numerous Christian radio and television broadcasts, including The 700 Club and 100 Huntley Street. She is the author of Beyond Chaos, published by NavPress and is a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She and her husband, John, are the parents of two and proud grandparents of seven.