Taking Off the Training Wheels

I’ve been working with my daughter over the weekend on learning to ride her bike. She asked to take off the training wheels and the adventure began. It has been a lot of fun to watch her face as she expands the distance she can ride on her own – foot by foot. Of course, the key to the whole deal is balance and I’m still holding the back of her seat until she has enough momentum and I can let go. The next step is for her to learn to get started on her own … once that happens, there’s no turning back.

In working with her, it has provided an amazing picture of relationship with God. The training wheels provide some balance and require no thought or skill. However, as every little kids instinctively knows – we weren’t meant to ride with training wheels. They are temporary. As I’ve been studying through Romans, it seems clear that both license (living however you want) and law (living under an external standard) are training wheels. Neither require thought or skill – just mindless/heartless conformity. Both are living independent of God – just to the right (law) or left (license) end of the spectrum. Living with God is the balance of riding without those training wheels – living in a place of utter dependence where I trust in God each moment.

And, when I fall – it might be very tempting to get those training wheels back out – but they enslave and actually mean that I can’t go offroad or go over a ramp or all kinds of things a bike was intended to do. And, when I fall – it is important to remember that the Father is cheering me on – clapping and smiling that I made it so far. And, then – He’s there to help me back up … while I feel like I’m riding by myself, He is there every step of the way – watching and cheering and helping and holding. When I have the training wheels on, I don’t even notice Him and certainly don’t cry out for help.

I want so much to keep learning to ride without training wheels — it is exhilirating and a lot of fun to just be with the Father as He loves me in the process.


~ by Ted Wueste on October 13, 2008.

2 Responses to “Taking Off the Training Wheels”

  1. Yes Yes!!

    I love the idea of how license and law are training wheels – neither of them providing what I really want.
    And the reminder that the Father is cheering – I never seem to hear Him (i.e. I’m not paying attention). I gotta let myself hear Him!!

    In my mind, as I pictured the various metaphors in your post, I was drawn to how the license and law are right-and-left whereas riding is more of a forward thing. Not without right-and-left, and not that the balance aspect is escaping my notice. But there is a direction perpendicular to right and left. Perhaps the non-human-created, ‘abundant’ life idea(s)? Further, the right-and-left continuum cannot ‘see’ or ‘notice’ this perpendicular line for it only occupies one tiny space on this continuum and it’s judged as being more left or more right than the observer (that is, no matter where you draw a vertical (y-axis) line, it only crosses the x-axis (continuum) in one place).

    And hurray for Claire!!!!!

  2. Yeah – I really like that — right and left are valuable in so much as they show us that we’re veering from forward movement & when we get occupied with right or left – we miss a beauty and depth of life that can only come with that forward movement. The insights from this metaphor could go on and on — another thought is that when we have the training wheels on – there can be an illusion that you’re riding the bike even when there is no forward movement – no real relationship with God.

    Also, because it’s political season — in our American political environment, do the right and left serve merely as training wheels for staying on that same horizontal line? We never move forward because we’re stuck with the training wheels.

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