May 30, 2013

Keep Pedaling!

by Kari Diane Pike

Oh, how it did this fifty-something-year-old's ego good when I started pedaling the bike and noticed how much more strength I seemed to have than when I first started cycling. Seriously, I felt like I was flying down the road. At last, I was seeing the results of hard work and the sacrifice of hot fudge sundaes and Reese's peanut butter cups. Until I turned the corner -- and had to ride uphill -- facing the wind. Talk about a bubble bursting experience.

I pedaled harder and changed gears, and still nearly came to a stop. I considered turning around and riding my course in the opposite direction, but then realized that all that would change was the location of the challenges. What goes down, must come up. At some point, I would still have to face the hills and the wind. I had two choices: keep pedaling, or give up and walk the bike home.

I realized that quitting wouldn't help me reach my fitness goal, so I chose to keep riding. I leaned forward over the handlebars to reduce some of the resistance and faced my challenge head on. I turned another corner and with the wind once again at my back, I sat up straight. The wind became my friend and pushed me forward to yet another challenge. The experience made me think about a quote I read the other day:

"Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" (Abraham Lincoln)

Okay. That lead me to this thought: The culture I grew up in taught me that "pain" is a bad thing, that something is wrong and that I should avoid it as much as possible. If something seems too hard, then I probalby shouldn't be doing it. Pain is my enemy.

What would happen if I were to take Lincoln's advice and make "pain" my friend?

Pain can tell me when I need to make changes -- changes in my physical activities, my eating habits, and even changes in my attitude. A little bit of pain can precede a fabulous spurt in growth. But like any worthwhile friendship, I have to pay attention. If I ignore the pain, it will find ways to make me pay heed. Pain also feeds on fear and can grow to monstrous proportions. I realized that my fear of pain is what keeps me from realizing my dreams and achieving my goals.

So what would happen if I were to change the way I perceive pain? What would happen if I were to stop being afraid of challenges and the possibility of pain and embraced them instead? In the scriptures, the Lord told Adam that "cursed shall be the ground for thy sake" (Moses 4:23). Challenges are meant to be a blessing! By looking at challenges and pain as opportunities for growth -- by making them my friend -- I will find that nothing is impossible.


  1. Very true, but we also need to be aware when we have injured ourselves or risk an even bigger injury. More a problem for we more mature women. You're so right though. If we stop at the first sign of a little pain, we'll never accomplish anything or get stronger.

    1. I totally agree, Donna! There is so much more to it! I feel a book coming on. heehee...hugs~

    2. That's where wisdom comes in. When to face and work through the pain, and when to pay attention to it. Running for example: If you stop when you get winded, you won't go very far, but a young man (a visitor from Norway) died on our street because he wouldn't stop running when his local friend did, and told him to stop. You are absolutely right, Kari, we can't go through life always avoiding pain. Many times we need to work through it, but we do need to know when to listen to our bodies, or quit emotionally banging our head on a wall that won't move.

  2. Oh my goodness we're twins LOL. I just started biking again after years of treadmill because I am now bored stiff with a treadmill. I went down the hill slightly nervous about falling but enjoying it. My dogs were flying down the hill and out to the bay. Course they jumped in...I circled the area then headed back. First time half way up the hill I got off and walked the bike. Second time to the mailbox. One day soon I want to get back up the hill on the bike HA. It just takes time.

  3. How true! I've never thought of it that way. Pain and discomfort are great indicators that we need to change. If something isn't working properly we need to adapt until it does!

  4. Thanks for the thoughts on hanging in there. You are an inspiration!

  5. I agree with yu and the comments everyone shared. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Just be careful. Can't comment on pain because I would like to be pain-free. :) Pain is not my friend right now. I hope to soon be rid of it.
    But enjoy riding. Just enjoy it. Why does something enjoyable have to involve pain?
    Just askin'

    1. Susan, I'm sorry you are in pain. There are definitely certain kinds of pain that we hope to never experience. I'm just learning that the way I can cope with it is to look for "lessons" and "purposes" and positive outcomes -- the blessings that follow the challenge. here's to a speedy recovery for you! hugs~


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