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Walking in Grace, Inc. is a counseling and life- coaching center in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. At the heart, our goal is to create an opportunity for personal growth and healing. RAPID CITY. Counseling. Intensives. WIG.

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Walking in Grace Blog.  Walking in Grace, Inc. Laura Longville. Rapid City Counselor. Intensives. Equine Workshops. Motivational Speaker. Faith Based Motivation. Faith Counseling. Counseling. 

Don't Look Back

Samantha Schmeltzer

On June 10th of this year, I returned from my first bike ride of the season. That first ride is always grueling and amazing for me! I half-heartedly ride 6 miles on a quiet road, close to my home. The first 3 miles are all up hill and unbearably demanding on my body. I huff and puff until I feel like I’m gasping for my last breath. My legs scream in pain as I pedal and my mind shouts at me, “Are you nuts?”

I want to give up multiple times!

On a positive note, the weather was a perfect 60 degrees. The trees and flowers were in full bloom. I smelled the fresh fragrance of pine and hint of lilac as I started on my ride. In addition, I hope to shed a few extra pounds I had collected over the winter.

In the beginning, the “idea” of bike riding is much more fun and enjoyable verses the reality. Yet, each year the maiden ride is initiated for three distinct reasons.

  •  It’s an effective exercise that is good for me.
  • It forces me to be in the here and now.
  • The scenery is beautiful.

Years ago, I recognized the importance of exercise and committed to it. I appreciate the YMCA where I go 3-4 times a week and look forward to the novel workout opportunities each change of season brings.

The reality or the “here and now” of the ride has it’s ups and downs. I didn’t like the pain my body and mind were experiencing and I started to question my sanity. Soon my mind was flooded with, “There’s got to be a less agonizing form of exercise to do.” “This is too hard”, and “Just turn around and go home!”

Life is like that too. Parenting is demanding. Taking care of elderly parents is problematic and heartbreaking. It’s challenging to stay married some days. It becomes tricky to respond professionally at work and life is just unfair! Before we know it, we growl and complain about how difficult or demanding life is.

Yet, I’ve lived long enough to know that a passionate and fulfilling life requires doing things that are good for me despite how I feel. God has a much bigger plan for my life. I need to be present and in the moment so I can see where God is at work. I want to be aware and involved in what I’m doing so I can live fully. A bike ride isn’t a big deal in the big picture of life, but God is with me even in my bike ride.

For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
— Jeremiah 29-11

 

God inspires me and I am excited about life. Starting a new project, season of life or new adventure is thrilling in the beginning. I get energized by the rewards and am eager to start. Keeping my eyes on the goal helps we do what is good for me. Exercise is good for my body, soul and spirit. Remembering that, I will feel healthier in the long run, my mind will be renewed and my spirit will soar.

Life is full of doing things that are good for us; despite how we feel. Getting up every day to go to work. Go to therapy. Drink water. Get 8 hours of sleep. Call family and friends. Say “no”. Say “yes”. Go to meetings. Get the oil changed. Eat 6 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Mow the yard and so on. It’s all worth the effort in the long run!

Still, it can be challenging to remember the goal or rewards when it becomes boring, stressful or arduous. Surprisingly, a new day gave me a fresh perspective on very truth.

I took the same bike ride a few months later on a cloudy, cool, misty morning. I woke up early and had the energy to do the ride even though it was only 50 degrees. I put on my riding gear, helmet and connected up to my IPod. I usually ride with music as the beat keeps me motivated.

About 6 blocks into my ride as the incline was causing me to breathe harder, this song More Than a Feeling by Boston began. Here are the lyrics.

 

“I looked out this morning and the sun was gone

Turned on some music to start my day

I lost myself in a familiar song

I closed my eyes and I slipped away

It’s more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to play

(more than a feeling)

               I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)

Oh My Gosh. My bike ride is definitely “more than a feeling”! If I relied on my feelings to get anything done, it wouldn’t happen. This invigorating song kept me going with a little more pep in my pedal the remaining 2.5 miles, uphill.

The next song in my Que. was Peace of Mind, by Boston.

Now if you’re feelin’ kinda low ’bout the dues you’ve been paying

Future’s coming much too slow

And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin’

Can’t decide on which way to go

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I understand about indecision

But I don’t care if I get behind

People livin’ in competition

                 All I want is to have my peace of mind. 

                       Take a look ahead, take a look ahead, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…

 

As the words sang to me through my headphones, I realized I was mindlessly gazing down to the ground right by the front wheel of my bike. I wasn’t noticing the beauty around me nor was I looking up ahead. The stanza rang out, “Take a look ahead, take a look ahead”. The lyrics encouraged me to keep my eyes on the goal so I don’t forget where I’m going!

Which reminds me that God sees the big picture and knows the goal in the end. Sometimes I don’t know what’s ahead and have to rely on God in the moment to help me keep going.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you” declares the Lord.
— Jeremiah 29:12-13

 

Who knew morning bikes rides would teach me so much? I admit, I need to keep my feelings in check, focus on God and then the goal. Next, I recognize the conditions of my latest ride felt very different from the first. Not only was I reminded to keep my head up and focused; I also noticed my view or perspective was different. I was looking ahead toward my riding destination, the temperature was perfect, the view was comforting and everything appeared still and peaceful. All is well!

This reminded me that when the going gets tough and I want to give up, a simple change of scenery or perspective could be enough to press on.

I reached my destination with only stop 2 times. I rested 4 times the first ride of the season and felt like a failure. I was so out of shape! Now, I recognize that stopping to rest is OK. It actually helps rejuvenate and energize me. A rest is a simple reminder for me to connect back in with God. After a rest the ride does get easier

You aren’t going to believe this and I am being totally honest here. As I rounded the corner of my destination to head back home (which is all down hill) this song, Don’t Look Back by Boston celebrated with me! Here are the lyrics:

 

 

Don’t look back

A new day is breakin’

It’s been too long since I felt this way

I don’t mind where I get taken

The road is callin’

Today is the day 

I can see

It took so long just to realize

I’m much too strong

Not to compromise

Now I see what I am is holding me down

I’ll turn it around

I finally see the dawn arrivin’

I see beyond the road I’m drivin’

Far away and left behind

 It’s a new horizon and I’m awakin’ now

Oh I see myself in a brand new way

The sun is shinin’

The clouds are breakin’

Cause I can’t lose now, there’s no game to play

 I can tell

There’s no more time left to criticize

I’ve seen what I could not recognize

Everything in my life was leading me on

But I can be strong

I finally see the dawn arrivin’

I see beyond the road I’m drivin’

Far away and left behind

As I rode home with Don’t Look Back blaring in my ears, I celebrate my success. I hold my arms up like I’ve won an Olympic medal. It starts to rain slightly and I feel showered with excitement, encouragement, love, peace and a renewed commitment to my goal. A deep feeling a gratitude permeates my being. The ride home was the celebration of my perseverance, my promise to do what is good for me, and the exhilaration of a job well done.

I need to remember, when the going get’s tough don’t give up. I can’t rely on my feelings but think of why I started my journey and why my goals are important. Feelings can cause indecision, frustration and lead me astray sometimes. Look up. Connect with God. Focus. Look ahead and keep on going. I just might get that peace of mind.


My own mind holds me back and prevents me from accomplishment and success. Zig Ziglar makes a true statement. It’s hard to know when to keep going, or to give up. To try harder or walk away. God can answer this question but we need to ask and then listen. In this instance, pushing through the difficult circumstances was worth it. If I had given up I would have missed the euphoria of a victory.

Look up. Focus. Look Ahead. DON’T LOOK BACK.