I had the honor of speaking at a conference in beautiful Barcelona, Spain last October. Barcelona is a feast for the eyes with its ornate architecture and magnificent cathedrals. But it wasn’t only the grand that captured my attention. I smiled with delight at rows of identical red bicycles parked along the streets, here and there, throughout the city. They looked like bright little sentinels, all lined up and ready for adventure in their crimson regalia. What have we here? I wondered.
Bicing, as our host explained, is a bicycle sharing system the city began in 2007. For a nominal yearly fee, citizens of Barcelona (not tourists) can swipe their RFID card and use a bike for a half hour (no extra charge), returning it to a slot in one of more than 420 lending stations around the metropolis. The result: less traffic congestion, less pollution and a whole lot more mobility–and fun!
Guess what. There are days I wish I could jump on a handy little bright-red bicycle and pedal away from my worries and struggles. So far, that’s not an option in the town, or the life, where I live. But God has provided a two-pedaled way to move me forward through the hardest days: grit and grace.
Grit is that gutsy determinations to keep going even when I’m biting my lip and fighting back tears. Grit is for the uphill climb. It infuses my spine with steel when my heart is pounding and my hands are shaking. Grit reminds me I don’t have to feel brave to act courageously. Grit propels me along winding, bumpy roads and takes me places I would never, ever get to otherwise.
Grace is the surprising favor of God, freely offered without an ounce of earning power on my part. It’s the radiant warmth of His smile on my shoulder in a cold world.
Grace allows me seasons where I can stop my frantic pedaling and coast in the momentum of knowing I am ardently loved and fully accepted, even with every one of my bazillion flaws completely exposed to Divine eyes.
Grace, freely received, is always a two-for-one. There is always enough for my deepest needs with plenty to freely pass along to those around me. Grace not only takes me to new places, it changes the way I journey along the way and how I live when I get there.
I still wish there were little red bicycles parked conveniently along the route I will take through the landscape of my earth-journey. But with God, grit, and grace, I will always get to the places His love is sending me. And that makes me grateful.
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