Loosen Your Grip

I braced myself for the downhill plunge.

Once again, I found myself in a position outside my comfort zone. You would think after 36 years of marriage I would be used to this.

I am married to a thrill seeker.

Weekends find us mountain biking, hiking, scuba diving or skiing. There are no rocking chairs on our porch. It’s a life-long quest just to keep up with him.

While much of the country are raking leaves and preparing for snowfall, outdoor adventurers in Arizona are celebrating the arrival of temps below 100 degrees. It’s a green light to move a little more and sweat a little less.

And so, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. While he’s become somewhat of an expert in – well everything – I’ve learned a thing or two about - well fear.

When tearing down the mountain on a winding single-track, fear wants to rear its ugly head. Raw instinct tells me to tuck my head into my shoulders and grip the handlebars with all my strength. Hunker down and pull inward. But some experience and my husband-turned-personal-trainer reminds me to do just the opposite.

Raise your head. Focus on the trail out front. And loosen your grip.

Pulling my head up and looking just ahead helps my balance. Loosening my grip allows the bike to navigate the turns instead of battling a tug-of-war game against myself. It is doing exactly the opposite of what fear wants me to do.

And isn’t that a lot like life?

We find ourselves on unfamiliar paths that we didn’t choose or want. Twists and turns which test our endurance and faith. Circumstances that we never signed up for. If we allow fear to creep in, we are destined for a face plant.

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That’s when we need to give ourselves a pep talk.

Raise our head and hands to Him. Remind ourselves of promised blessings. Focus on others and the future. An eternal perspective.

And loosen our grip on life just enough to let Him lead.

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Easier said than done.

But it’s a pattern I know to be true. I’ve practiced it over and over again.

In this extreme sport called life.