I didn't sleep much this week, due to lying awake thinking about the massive changes that are fixin' to happen in my life. So last night I went to bed before dark - I think it was not quite 8:30. The beauty of going to bed ridiculously early: it makes an early morning bike ride absolutely do-able!
This morning, I broke my standing record for longest bike ride. Last year back in Rock Island, I rode along the Mississippi to the tune of a 15-mile bike ride one gorgeous Saturday. It was a big event - it took most of my day.
This morning, I rode 16 miles - from home to Grant Park and back again - and I did it before breakfast. OH YEAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The main reason I hadn't gone that far yet, here in Chicago, was I kept getting stuck at Navy Pier - the path seemed to only lead in a circle. I have been there a number of times, and always just turned around and came home once I got there after trying to find a way *past* it. A couple of weeks ago, though, a friend explained where I was going wrong - veering left just before Navy Pier where I should go straight (I promise, I hadn't even noticed that going straight was an option!)
The path I needed goes under an overpass and then over a bridge. It is narrow and pedestrians have the right of way on it. You have to go through I think 3 stoplights to get to the other side. I would never have figured this out if I hadn't been talked through it.
I don't think I've blogged about this here, but I have always been terrified of heights. It's not a "think it through" thing - it's a body reaction. I can't talk myself out of it. I get to high places and everything in me is screaming hold onto something, we are about to die! I've tried reason, prayer, refusing to act the way I feel...all to no avail.
This morning, I realized as I pedaled hard up the incline of the bridge on that narrow path that I was headed for a high place. On my bike. And then the coolest thing happened: I was able to decide not to be afraid. This has never, ever, EVER been an option within my reach before. I took a breath but didn't slow my pedaling even a bit, and decided without hesitation. I rode across that high bridge and my stomach didn't even lurch; I didn't even get that crazy, flailing, off balance sensation. My heart didn't race. I didn't bust out into a cold sweat. I just rode across like it was nothing at all...except of course that I was having one giant dance party inside my head at this shocking development.
So why now? Why this sudden unexpected freedom? I have a theory about that. I have been practicing not letting my body call all the shots for about 6 months now. It doesn't get to send me on binge eating frenzies. It doesn't get to keep me off the stairs. My body and I have become friends. I don't have to push it around like a bully, but we seem to have arrived at "I am in charge, and it is not" and that has happened by me choosing more or less consistently to be obedient to what the Lord shows me about how to love it.
So it is submitted to my will, and my will is submitted to God's will, and amidst all this surrender, the door was apparently propped wide open for my unexpected freedom from terror of heights.
Color me elated!