Debbie and I have found ourselves in an interesting quandary, one we perhaps never would have anticipated merely four years ago. For several weeks now…well, perhaps more accurately, months…we’ve been considering another long-distance bicycle tour after Debbie’s school year ends. We bicycled coast to coast in 2010 after our wedding and from “Mom to Mom” in 2012 along Adventure Cycling Association‘s Atlantic Coast route. We’re thankful we can entertain options like these to add adventure and personal challenge at this time in our lives.
So, what’s the dilemma? We are having difficulty planning our next adventure. It’s not that we are at odds regarding what to do. Rather, we’re struggling to identify the best option–or even whether to tie up the entire summer on another adventure like this.
As we all know, time is money. Time is also an indispensable commodity for achieving other goals in life, or for pursuing life’s limitless opportunities. Ah, choices! We only have so much time to do, to explore, to earn, to…. Choosing to commit three months to a bicycle tour now also chooses not to spend those same three months on other worthwhile endeavors. We feel like we’re in the candy store with a fistful of coins, contemplating which treat will provide the most long-lasting satisfaction, but also wondering whether those coins could be better spent elsewhere. There’s a trade off. And although we acknowledge it’s a good problem to have, it prompts a rethinking of one’s priorities.
Our perspective now is different than it was before our other two tours. The factors weighing into our decision have changed. Nevertheless, we are influenced by our love of bicycling and the knowledge that, with each passing year, our physical ability and our time flexibility for undertaking this type of adventure may begin to wane. None of us ever knows what tomorrow will bring.
Such is the beauty of life. We are presented with choices that others perhaps don’t have. If they do, they’ll come to their own decisions in different ways than we do, but our unique life experiences and opportunities will influence our decisions. What’s a good decision for one may not be a good decision for someone else.
Debbie and I like to involve God in our decision making. Sometimes that’s easy. We hear His “voice” clearly and can act accordingly. This time, however, His voice has not been as easy to detect. Could it be that His silence is our green light, allowing the passions He’s placed inside us to steer us? Perhaps whether or not we bicycle tour this summer and what route we take are irrelevant to His plans for us. Or maybe they are. Maybe we need to go places we’ve never gone before and expand our horizons. If His plans for us don’t include a bike tour to such-and-such a location, we’re assuming He’ll stop us before we get there, because that’s what we’ve been asking Him to do.
As we’ve considered our touring options, we’ve thought about a charitable component that offers others a chance to participate–and us an opportunity to thank God for His blessings. Debbie and I both volunteer as HopeCoaches for TheHopeLine, an organization that seeks to reach, rescue, and restore hurting teens and young adults. We do this from our home–or from wherever we are as long as we have a computer and an Internet connection. We can personally attest to the impressive work TheHopeLine does with very limited, exclusively private resources. In 2013 alone, TheHopeLine intervened in the lives of over 3,000 youth who were struggling with suicidal thoughts. While difficult circumstances and an increasingly hopeless culture drew these youth perilously close to the edge of life’s cliff, a Higher Power, using TheHopeLine, has snatched them from the clutches of despair with a hope that transcends time, and has pointed them to resources that will help keep them out of harm’s way. Debbie and I were privileged to personally intervene in some of those 2013 cases. The thought occurs to us that we could increase our commitment to coaching during a bicycle tour this summer. TheHopeLine Tour of 2014 has a nice ring to it.
We’ve not seen a heavenly stop sign as yet, so we’re still planning on heading out sometime soon,. We’ll provide more details in another blog post. However and wherever God leads us this summer, we’re quite certain it will be filled with an adventure that defies time and space. For when we’re striving to follow the path He has in store, we’re sure to grow, to learn, and to be available for His service. We hope to see you along this route.