On the recent Alaska ride, Mick, Brad and I visited the most majestic cathedral I’ve experienced. HiWay 1, NorCal, The Avenue of the Giants. We slowly cruised through the redwoods that crept to the edge of the road and provided a canopy of boughs that kept us cool. And in awe. Then Brad spotted a sideroad we’d never taken, Mattole Road to the Big Tree Grove, so we yielded to temptation.
If HiWay 1 was narrow, Mattole was just a faint curving line that dodged between the redwoods rather than bulldozing them. A couple of times a car approached the opposite way, and it got pretty tight! I felt like a slalom skier on the bike—a very slow one. That slowness helped when a doe jumped out 5 ft. in front of me. She bounded 20 feet up the slope, then stopped to look at this strange creature perched on a yellow Goldwing with an American flag on the helmet. Another doe waited for her, and as I grabbed my cell camera, Brad said a third crossed the road ahead of me.
That marvelous road had a lot of obstacles to dodge: moving deer and stable redwoods and approaching cars. And it taught me something about following Jesus. We face obstacles. What others expect of us—that match neither our nature nor scripture. Our weak areas—laziness or lust or self-centeredness or out of control ambition, and more. Contentment—one that allows us to settle for less than God’s best. Any can bring damage and falling short.
So, we dodge them. Granted, we always can’t. A few years ago a doe jumped in front of Brad near these mountains and he couldn’t avoid T boning her, requiring a life flight to the nearest trauma hospital to save his life. But we do what we can, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We develop the habit of continual awareness so we can identify obstacles to dodge. And, like on Mattole Road, we don’t just look 5 ft. in front of us, we look farther down the road, for the consequences of each decision.
We want to arrive alive and healthy with a smile.
Kick Starting the Application
What are some of our obstacles you face? What strategies work? Which don’t? Would it help you to intentionally craft some plans to see and respond to them? Maybe take some time to specifically identify some obstacles and a game plan for them. Would it help you to get an accountability partner?