Tour de Stress

Peloton. I added that word to my vocabulary this month compliments of the Tour de France. Not sure if I’ll be able to use it in a context outside of bike racing, but I welcome the challenge.
Besides learning a new word, there are other things I’ve gleaned from the Tour. First, I have very skinny legs. Second, I want muscular legs. Third, I will never shave my legs – no matter what. Fourth, European bike racing fans have an affinity for cheering and chasing bikers while wearing Speedos. Sixth, Speedos are obscene.
Watching the Tour, I’ve gained a sense for the danger of professional biking. The crashes can be horrific. I also have a renewed appreciation for the endurance required to ride 150+ KM in a few hours. Those guys are machines.
Endurance has been a theme of late in our home. We’ve been working through a planned disruption. It’s required all of us to be agile with our routines. We’ve had to lay aside personal desires to serve the greater good. It’s been fine. We’ve tarried well. But in the midst of experiencing the abnormal, we’ve also been preparing for our big summer vacation.
For me, vacation prep is a Tour de Stress. A journey filled with mountains and few straight-aways. But that’s reality. Stress is a part of rallying our little peloton. It can be difficult to unify our team when so much excitement and anticipation abounds. My “riders” care little for how many shirts and pairs of socks to pack. They just want to ride. And so do I. But things must get done or we’re going nowhere. That tension requires a special mustering of patient endurance – for all of us.
Of course, the stress-fires get stoked with things like last minute car repairs, finding a dog-sitter, a final mowing of the lawn, a trip to the bank and 42 last minute jaunts to the store. Ah, vacation.
So what do I do? How do I cheer my peloton without deflating their tires? How do I grow a desire to serve, instead of being served? How do I muster courage to squelch the energy I want to put towards having the right number of underwear? How do I strangle nudges toward anger and not demand that I get a break?
Well, life doesn’t offer breaks. Sure, there are times for refreshment and relaxation, but I’m never excused from being a husband and father. From leading, serving and loving. Life’s stresses never abate.
I’m learning anew that in life’s stresses there is opportunity. Opportunity to lay aside my wish dreams. To trust that God has my back. That He can handle my anxieties. That in His strength, I can be a tail-wind for my peloton. That whether I’m stressed or calm, He brings the rest I’m longing for.
Soon we’ll be off to new fun and adventures. As I progress through the stages of my Tour de Stress, I’m keeping my wife’s homeschooling mantra very close:  “Attitude is everything – pick a good one!” I’m grateful for renewed mercies – from God, and my family. And lastly, if I thought it would help, I might consider shaving my legs.

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