Sunday afternoon I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of taking the training wheels off my son’s bicycle. The whole family walked down to the elementary school parking lot down the street to watch and experience Tommy’s first time riding a bike without training wheels.

As a father I was proud and excited for this season in his life and to see the determination in his eyes. I must say he’s a quick learner, has some athletic bones in his body and I was quite impressed with how quickly he picked it up.

Here’s where I go all spiritual on you: When we first started out, I would walk alongside Tommy with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on his neck/shirt (holding him upright). We did this for a while and then once I suddenly let go and he was on his own for a brief period. This excited us both and we started out again. This time he got going quicker and smoother and I let go again. Now this time he rode for a long way by himself and we all celebrated.

Each time I would go down to where he stopped (he’s working on the turning thing) and help him get going again. One time I tried to have him start out all by himself and he said something that stopped me in my tracks: “Daddy, hold me while I get started… then let go.”

I don’t know why, but this struck a chord in my spirit. Here’s where my mind and heart went: I’m a dreamer, a visionary, a builder and have sort of an entrepreneurial spirit about me. What cut me deep is how many times I cry out to God to help me in the beginning of something and then after a while I lose that sense of dependence and say “I’ve got it. You can let go now.”

Now I know that I can only take this analogy so far. I know that I can’t hold on to my son forever – that he’s got to be able to ride that bike by himself eventually (which he is doing now). It was the desperation, fear and urgency that I heard in my son’s voice as he called out to me that grabbed my attention.

I don’t know who I’m speaking to. Maybe a church planter. Maybe a non-profit that’s in the early stages. Maybe someone who’s been serving somewhere for a long time and has become comfortable. Maybe just me.

Hear my heart: Let’s never stop crying out to God and longing for His presence – His hand to guide and hold us. I hope I never again (because I have before) get to a place where I say to God, “I’ve got it now. You can let go.” I pray that for you as well.

Greg Atkinson

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