On a recent weekend camping trip, my husband and I set out on a relatively long E-bike ride. As is common practice, he used All Trails to scope out the distance and terrain to calm my reservations about any surprises that might pop up along the way. It showed a short piece of unpaved trail that led to a much longer, paved path with views of the river along the way. There were no indications of anything that might prove difficult.
About a mile and a half into our fourteen-mile trip, we encountered a section of the unpaved trail that was full of large roots, included a steep hill and was too narrow for bikers and hikers to pass in opposite directions. With only a few seconds to adjust or choose to jump off the bike and walk it through the difficult stretch, I failed to do either and found myself falling to the ground with the bike landing on top of me. My husband was in front and had navigated without incident, so he didn’t realize what was happening behind him and rode off without me.
Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt. But as I glanced up and saw two couples coming towards me on their own bikes, I was quite embarrassed. The women quickly showed empathy and checked that I was okay while one of the men helped pick up my bike and get me set on the path again. They were so kind and I felt as if I'd experienced my own version of the Good Samaritan story. As I thanked them and rode on to catch up to my husband, I replayed the woman’s words that had immediately comforted me.
“Don’t be embarrassed. I did the exact same thing just a little while ago. That hill is tricky!”
Hearing “me too” can bring comfort to overwhelming situations in a matter of moments. As Lysa Terkeurst says, “If the enemy can isolate us, he can influence us.” Our enemy wants us to feel alone. He wants us to experience shame and embarrassment. He loves to convince us that no one else has ever felt or experienced what we have.
The simple words, “I did that too!” completely changed how I felt about my bike tumble. I went from embarrassed and alone to feeling part of something that others had likely experienced numerous times. And you better believe that I passed on the warning to the bikers I encountered for the rest of the fourteen-mile journey.
I don’t know what you’ve experienced that you could share with others to encourage them, but I bet there’s something. I don’t know what you are going through that you’re convinced no one else could possibly understand, but I bet you’re wrong. Ask God to lead you to the person you need to share with and don’t be afraid to use those simple words, “me too.”
“Encourage each other and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Stephani Cook is a certified life and Enneagram coach, speaker, writer, podcast host and the creator of On Purpose Coaching. Through On Purpose Coaching she helps others to improve relationships and to discover intentional abundant living.
To connect with Stephani about the possibility of coaching or speaking to your group or organization, visit her website http://www.stephanicook
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