Everyday Miracles is a very personal column for readers who want to explore the deeper meaning of life.
No matter how long you’ve been riding a motorcycle, it’s likely that at one time or another you’ve found yourself riding with a very tight grip on the handlebars. Most times it’s when fear takes over or something triggers your anxiety level to go up.
The common reason fear and anxiety take over is when there’s a change in conditions in which we’re not accustomed to riding. Inclement weather—rain, wind, or even snow—or roadway conditions like gravel or grooved pavement can all trigger a higher level of anxiety if we’re not used to it.
Our body’s reaction to fear on a motorcycle is to tighten our hands on the grips while our body tenses up. Muscles contract, heart rate speeds up, breathing gets shallow. All this compromises the natural rhythm of riding, the movements weve learned that allow our mind and body to work together to operate a motorcycle effectively. We become fatigued, among other things, and miss out on the everyday miracles that motorcycling offers us.
Just like on a motorcycle, we can find ourselves tightening our grip on life especially when fear or the feeling of lack of control takes over. I turned 50 on March 20 and because I love fresh starts, I decided to use this milestone birthday to restart my life with a newfound awareness of default behaviors that were forcing me to have a destructively tight grip on my life and situations around me, and in so doing replace them with newfound positive, healthy God-breathed behaviors.
In order to change a reaction in us that triggers the same pernicious outcomes to situations and circumstances, we must first become aware that we’re doing it, that is to see ourselves as others do. We must take off the blinders.
I tried hard to step outside myself to gain this awareness but I had little success. After years of trying to “fix” myself, I eventually realized I was powerless and therefore ineffective in transforming myself into the person I desired to be. I realized I needed the one who made me to help change me, to show me these truths about who I was, how I was acting, and who I am meant to be. God tells us when we believe in Him and we are faithful enough to ask for help, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Yea to that! As much as the truth might hurt, at my age, I was more than ready to know it!
When my 51st year on this planet was ushered in with surreal swirls of shamrock green glows in the night sky that seemed to come from Heaven itself I was moved, more than I could ever have hoped, to begin anew. I was also moved by these words I’d read in the Bible: “Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it.”
Love one another. Love.
Love is the answer.
Love is the opposite of fear. I decided that moving forward into my next chapter of life that I would stop living with fear and anxiety. Stop living with such a tight grip on my life. Stop trying to maintain control over every one and every situation around me. Instead I’d hand over control to the one entity in my life that promises to take care of me. “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for well-being, and not for calamity, in order to give you a future and a hope.” I’m banking on this promise!
In giving up control of my life, my constricted grip has been released, figuratively and literally. Each day, I open my hands facing my palms to the sky and invite God’s healing light and love to enter into my body. Afterwards, in my minds eye, I grab hold of His hand, and walk with my grip nestled with His as I go about my day. I don’t want to miss even one everyday miracle that walking in the light provides.
When the climate around me gets dark, when the road gets rough and my old behavior patterns of gripping tightly want to take over, I take several deep breaths. Ahhh…
I become aware of the muscles in my body and relax them. Ahhh…
I loosen my grip so I can flow with the “unforced rhythms of grace” (to quote from Eugene Petersons “The Message” bible)… the ability to let love take over… let mercy embrace my being. Let my soul’s true inner desire for peace, love, gratitude, joy, goodness, humility and gentleness abound in me.
And so it goes on a motorcycle too. I loosen my grip to flow smoothly through the unsettled climate and terrain, allowing my body to move calmly to the other side. Only then can the unforced rhythms of skilled and effective motorcycle riding take hold and get me where I want to go.
Now, I want to hear from you. Share your thoughts on loosening your grip in the comments below.
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Genevieve Schmitt is the founder of WomenRidersNow.com. She was raised in a strict Catholic household, but in college the journalist in her starting asking questions of organized religion. By age 30 she developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and since then works daily to surrender her stubborn will and vain ego to allow the Holy Spirit to guide her life. She now considers herself a non-denominational Christian. In the summer of 2014, with guidance from God, she started expressing her faith journey in this column, Everyday Miracles. Feedback from WRN readers has been overwhelming positive proving that people crave so much more.
10 thoughts on Everyday Miracles: Loosen Your Grip
Hi WRN, Thanks Genevieve for sharing on loosening the grip. Firstly let me say that your pictures with the aurora borealis are stunning! It’s been my dream for many years to experience it, will do so one day.To loosen the grip on fear, rejection or whatever life may throw our way means to have faith. When we loosen the grip, we relinquish control over to the Lord. Sometimes we crash, on motorcycles and sometimes in life because to the very end we hold on way too tight, too afraid to loosen up!This morning I read your article and thought of how six years ago I had to loosen the grip on fear and purchase a 150cc scooter (it’s how I started riding) as I couldn’t afford to keep my car anymore and all this while my son lay in ICU, very broken and on the verge of death due to a drunk driver who had smashed into his motorcycle at an intersection. My son was 16 then and was not wearing full protective gear, it was hot… I did what I had to do through faith in the Lord, the same faith I had in that my son would live, and all praises to the Lord he did! Why am I sharing this? Because I thought that I had been strong through it all and was over that horrid ordeal but that was until this morning.I read the comments beneath your article, went into RockTheGear.org and read Brittany Morrow’s horrendous account of her accident. I realize now that I had not fully loosened my grip of fear on my son’s accidents (yes plural, he recently had another accident which now makes 11 broken bones and, and, and) by the time I got to the end I had a full fledged anxiety attack, went to the bathroom to be sick but passed out instead! Do I need to hand over my son’s protection to the Lord again and trust Him and not hang onto fear, for sure I most certainly do.It’s easier sometimes to fall off a bike (done it a few times) than it is to fall in life but either way Genevieve, I agree with you, we have to loosen our grip on the motorcycle and in life… just enough for the fear to be taken over by faith.Brittany, I applaud what you are doing! May more and more people realize the importance of wearing full gear, even if to just quickly go down the road, and actually wear it! One day I will write to you personally, but for now I still need to loosen the grip some more to my Lord Jesus.
I’m turning 30 in December and I was terrified until recently. Not sure what caused me to suddenly become excited to start a new chapter in my life, but whatever it was turned the impending date from ominous to celebratory. This article is exactly what I was hoping it would be. You are an amazing role model I’ve grown accustomed to following. This just shows me that I have nothing to fear, because the future is bright and my life is just beginning! Thank you, Genevieve! And happy belated birthday.
Thank you so much for your kind words Brittany, and for sharing your feelings about your milestone birthday experience. I’ve admired you so much over the years — watching how you turned an unfortunate incident into a lesson for all. Your RockTheGear.org website is a great educational tool for encouraging riders to wear all the gear all the time. Continued success to you!
Genevieve…your story struck a chord in me. Thank you. So many things drag us down nowadays. Why in the world would we want to be someone we are not meant to be? I am not wealthy, I am not thin, I am not beautiful. I am who I was patterned to be. I too have some long rides ahead that have been on my bucket list. But always found a reason not to just…go! That must have been the anxiety me. Because I am not really afraid…it’s the packing of the bags, and knowing that I’m leaving home far behind, that makes me hesitant. But your releasing story has inspired me! It’s my time, for my releasing. Home will still be waiting for me. I will not be alone. He is with me.Thank you more than you know.
Thank you Genevieve. It was just what I needed to hear today. I also need to let go of the grip and control and trust that all will be okay. And, to stop sweating the small stuff.
Incredible story, and I too and loosening my grip on my handlebars and life! Health issues resulting in high stress, menopause and prior illness has sidelined me, but I am determined to use this time of rest to let God lead me to the path I was meant to live. I am done with the rat race of corporate America and not quite as scared as I thought I would be. But I read once if you have faith you can’t be afraid because fear is the opposite of faith!
HAPPY 50 and Happy RELEASE! You’re right. I have realized, as I approach 50 this November, that I’ve cared too much in my life. Too often caring about what others think of me. Silly me! I decided this year to do something I’ve never done before every single month regardless of what the world thinks of me. Thus far, it’s working. I’m doing this plan to see new things, meet new people, enjoy new adventures and overcome fears and anxiety. We get ONE chance on this big world and we need to make the impact that GOD has planned for us. We can’t do that hidden under a blanket of fear and doubt! Thanks for sharing your 50 journey with us. I’m calling mine My year of F’ng Fif-T. The F can stand for soooo many things. But I’m not going to let it be Fearing Fif-T. Happy day to you Genevieve! “T”
So beautifully written, so inspiring.Thank you for sharing.
Genevieve, once again you have spoke to my heart! Doesn’t life get fun when we open up to God’s direction?I love you dear friend!What a wonderful time I have had as a guest in your home.This has been a very cherished week.Your sister in Christ,Joan
Thank you. I’m blessed to receive your spiritual gifts and wisdom Joan!