CONQUERING THE FEAR INSIDE

I was “older” when I jumped on a bike after not riding for most of my adult life. Sometimes I think I am crazy, shouldn’t I be sitting back and taking it easy in my golden years?

Well, I have never been one to go with the status quo, as is true with most women who ride I suppose.

Let me tell you something about learning to ride a motorcycle when you are a woman,  I suspect it holds true for a woman of any age. Learning to ride will help you realize that you can conquer the fear that lives inside that binds us from living our life on our terms.

Learning to ride a motorcycle set us up for many unexpected situations and by navigating those situations successfully we learn we can work through any problem we encounter with the same logical and methodical practices.

You will find nothing more effective to get you out of your self-imposed box than a motorcycle.

Learning the technique and finesse of riding a motorcycle is absolutely related to overcoming other personal obstacles in life.

It didn’t take me long to learn that my motorcycle is an extension of myself- my mind, my body, soul and most certainly my hopes and dreams.

Time in the saddle can produce revelations that can be joyful or painful but revelations that can be won nowhere else. In just a few short miles (or a few long miles) I can experience joy, peace, fear, happiness, sorrow, and a personal sense of power and freedom that I have not found elsewhere.

I am a fairly traditional gal, I love God, my family and all that means. Yet I chose to ride a motorcycle, is that a contradiction? I hear, as we all do I suppose, that I am putting myself in danger, that I must have a death wish and that I am too old to be riding. The weary old dogs-new tricks theory I suppose. I have come to believe however that a life lived in constant fear of losing it is hardly living at all.

We that ride, challenge a lot of the social stereotypes without really meaning to. We push our personal limits and most certainly are getting out of our comfort zones. Riding as a woman is thrilling because it is unexpected and exciting. More than that however, riding is taking our destiny into our own hands and shaping it the way we want it to be. We are living life on our terms.

Life should not be only about getting older, but it should be about getting better and wiser and doing it in a way that makes us happy. My motorcycle makes me happy, but even more so the things riding my motorcycle has taught me makes me strong.

In riding, I have discovered a courageous, adventurous, independent, powerful and self-confident woman.

Dottie

…………………….and so I ride

A woman and her motorcycle

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Winter Dormancy

Winter is a dormant season in the plant world. Physical activity is temporarily stopped. It is during this dormant period that plants prepare for strong regrowth during the next growing season. In other words even though plants look withered or dead during the cold, hard winter months their roots continue to grow deeper, strengthen and thrive preparing for the spring thaw.

When I look out in my garage at my bike sitting there with the seat off and the battery hooked up to a trickle charger I am thankful that come warmer weather she will be ready to ride because of a few extra measures I take during the cold dormant season.

I ask myself what I am doing to prepare for the coming riding season. What can I do to prepare my riding ministry for success? Am I taking the opportunity during this dormancy to strengthen my Christian roots, to establish a deeper relationship with God and my Bible or am I simply content to grow my couch potato empire?

We ride a lot in the spring, summer and as far into autumn as we can. It seems to me that with a little  preparation during the cold winter months we can make sure those rides go from simple riding for pleasure (although there is nothing wrong with that) to rides that make a difference in the Kingdom of God.

I can be content to watch my spiritual tree shed its leaves during the winter season and stand bare and withering. Or I can take the steps to make sure that when the weather warms and bikes come out of the garage, I have done all I can do to nurture the spiritual roots God has planted in me.

 

Dottie

……………………and so I ride

Nice Bike!

 

 

Being a Christian comes with certain duties, like telling others about the sacrifice of Christ. I read a recent survey that showed despite feeling the responsibility to do so, most Christians do not share their faith. It was a survey of over 1,000 Christians, over 78 percent said they had not shared with someone the way to become a Christian. We can just look in Matthew 28:19-20 and read that we are commanded to share God’s good news. For some, sharing the gospel comes naturally but for others, like me, it is a fearful thing.

Matthew 28:19-20

 

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

 

The obvious thought is what if the person rejects what I am saying to them, are they thinking I am some sort of religious nut, are they thinking I am being overbearing and pushy or are they thinking I am just insane. What if I don’t know enough, I might offend someone, I might be ridiculed, or I might fail. You get it, it can be a scary thing.

 

What I was not thinking was about God being a participant in this whole picture. It is easy to forget that the God I am telling others about is right there beside me, He wants me to spread the Gospel, He is going to be right there helping me.

 

God isn’t going to throw me into a motorcycle ministry and just leave me hanging. I have to believe that God will guide my words and prompt me about proper timing.

 

I  believe that just as I felt a prompting and a yearning for God, so do some we run into on the road, God places certain people in our paths for a reason. However just because God placed them in our path doesn’t mean we should go at them with both guns blazing hot.

 

It is hard to approach the subject of spirituality in the course of everyday conversation. But when I start backing down from my conviction of wanting to share God then it really isn’t a conviction at all, its just an inconvenience. The question probably shouldn’t be should I minister to this person but rather, how should I minister to this person?

 

I know that I am supposed to be spreading the gospel, I just need to find a way that works for me and brings glory to God. I can do this by talking to God and inviting Him to come along with me on my mission field, I can do that by knowing what I am talking about by doing my homework. I can do that by walking just a bit closer to God .

It would make no sense what so ever to walk up to someone randomly and out of the blue ask if they wanted to talk about Jesus, it just doesn’t seem like a good way to share the gospel.

I think a good way to start a conversation would be…………….”nice bike”! I know from experience the conversation just flows from there.!

 

Dottie

………………and so I ride

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Perfectionism or Delusional? (edited….)

We live in a culture that prizes and endlessly seeks and is seduced by perfectionism. If you don’t believe me take a look around. If you don’t like your face, seek a plastic surgeon and get another one. We push our children to be the smartest, the fastest and the most popular, the things we buy are constantly being upgraded into the biggest, newest, best tasting they have ever been.

But I’ve got a secret for you, you can fix all the stuff on the outside you want, it isn’t going to change the inside. It is a problem when our outward focus inhibits our ability to look to what is missing inside. If we seek the truth, the answer is quite simple.

Let me get deeply personal here for a moment and speak directly to one way this affects my life. My Harley Davidson Softail “Glitter”. She was great as I bought her; she did everything I needed her to do and gave me what I needed her to. However that did not stop me from decking her out with so much bling that she literally shines when we go down the road. It didn’t (still doesn’t) stop me from purchasing outrageously priced Harley Davidson clothing to wear when I ride her (and just about any other time). I think I was striving for perfection in the wrong place, probably still am. I can reach just as many people for God on a bike with absolutely no non-stock adornment as I can with all the latest gadgets, the loudest exhaust, the showiest paint job and the newest stereo system.

Matthew 5:48 states it perfectly, “be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.

It seems that our pursuit of perfectionism is really just a fear that we aren’t enough, we aren’t good looking enough, we aren’t thin enough, we don’t make enough money, our bike isn’t the best on the road.

To seek perfection in the world is to strive for the impossible, and end up spending a LOT of money doing it. We may get momentary personal satisfaction, but we do not get eternal satisfaction.

The more we seek perfection in the world, the less we seek it from God. The more we seek the illusion of the perfection the world serves up the more detached we become from the brilliance of the glow that God can cast in our lives.

There is a difference between seeking perfection and seeking wholeness. The desperation we feel to continue seeking perfectionism is like a snowball, the more you have the more you want which translates into the more you have the less satisfied you are with what you have. In effect you are still seeking for what it is that fills that void and you keep trying to fill it with everything your neighbor owns, every new offering at the store, all the new fashions, all the new diet fads, every new part Harley Davidson comes out with, (replace name of bike with your particular brand) you name it, if we think it can lead us to perfection we are there in line waiting to buy it.

Perhaps it is not perfectionism for which we should be striving after all, perhaps the thing we should concentrate on striving for, is grace, is goodness and light. After all God loves us for who we are, not IN SPITE of who we are. We do not have to own the biggest, the best, the fastest or the most expensive.

We just have to own our need for the one who can give us the best of the best and make us perfect in every way.

Seems quite simple to me.

Dottie

……………………and so I ride………………..if the weather ever straightens up

 

 

Dottie

……………………and so I rideImage

Spreading the Word on my Harley

I woke up in the middle of the night to the wind howling and snow beating on my bedroom window, a stark contrast to a couple days ago when we were riding our motorcycles for the first time this season.

I couldn’t get back to sleep, either my hubby was snoring or the bed was, but my mind started wandering to the upcoming riding season (which by the way, seems far away this morning).

Freedom, exhilarating, wind, empowerment, adventure, challenging, self-esteem, confidence, inspiration, fun, excitement, these are just a few words describing why we ride motorcycles. We all know the feeling we get when we are anticipating the twists and turns of the next great piece of asphalt that awaits us.

But we must remember that along with the fun and adventure comes responsibility. Now when you think of responsibility if you are like me your mind wanders to the obvious, a current license and insurance, learning and practicing safety and rules of the road, safe riding apparel, proper eyewear, making sure your bike is safe to ride, and being aware of current laws.

I think most of us do that but our responsibility does not stop there.

Even when dressed in leather and sitting astride our big, bad bikes, we are still servants of Christ. We have a responsibility to dispense hope and love as we ride. We all study the Word of God and love Jesus Christ our Savior but we have a responsibility even when riding to carry that message forward into our lives and since our lives revolve around motorcycles,  that responsibility carries over to riding time.

We are to be active for Christ in our churches, in our communities, at our events and ON OUR BIKES. We are in the business of planting seeds where God has softened hearts, spreading the good news where God has opened doors and fellowshipping with those God has put in our path. We are to do that if it is a ride around town, a leisurely Sunday solo or a group ride of distance.

You can be sure that you are noticed when you are dressed in leathers, in your club colors and riding a motorcycle. This is our chance to make a difference doing what we love to do. It is a gift to have Christ in my heart and to be able to spread that love in such a unique way.

We have a responsibility to take that notoriety and use it for the good of God. Let’s ride and let’s take the message of victory with us! It is our responsibility, it is our gift and it is pure joy!

Dottie

…………..and so I ride.Image

If You Have To Ask, You Wouldn’t Understand.

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I don’t mean to sound condescending, I really don’t but I am a woman who rides a motorcycle. Either you “get it” or you don’t.

In all honesty I wish I could give all women what I have found on a bike. My baby is a 2011 Harley Davidson Heritage Classic and her name is Glitter. It might sound like I worship Glitter but I don’t, I firmly believe God have me the wisdom, courage, and tenacity to climb on and ……………..ride.

Once I did,  I was hooked, I won’t ever look back and I will ride as long as I can. I am a member of Christian Motorcyclists Association,  Motor Maids, National HOG(Harley Owners Group) and am thinking of starting a Christian Riding Club for women in my town. I write for a motorcycle magazine so I ride a lot of miles in a year. I love to ride, I love to write, seems like a good mix to me!

I have to say that I am most partial to my CMA membership, I am proud to wear those yellow patches that identify me one with Christ, that let others know I am out there working to further the Kingdom. I cannot tell you the times we have been honked at or sat at a stop light, a window will come down and we hear, praise God brother and sister!

I have ridden all over the state of WY, the Black Hills Scenic Byway, The BearTooth Highway (I got my a** and my bike over the pass!), the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, the Bighorn Scenic Byway, the Cloud Peak Scenic Byway, the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, the Wind River Scenic Byway, the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road in the South Dakota Black Hills. We have ridden Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California(Highway 101 was pure heaven), and Nebraska.

I have learned a whole lot since I started riding.

  • Look where you want to go because if you are gawking at the gorgeous scenery around you. Look long enough at the side of the road and you end up there.
  • Assume you are invisible because to a lot of cagers (people in cars) you are!
  • Ride your own ride, ride your own skill level. The consequences could be deadly.
  • If it looks slippery it probably is,beware!
  • Learn to swerve, you bike will follow your eyes, so look at the way around, not at the dead skunk you are trying to avoid.
  • Potty before you leave, bumpy roads and a full bladder are no fun
  • Money tends to disappear fast when shopping for motorcycle accessories.
  • Parking lots are good places to practice those stupid U-Turns the DOT insists you know how to do.
  • People carry dumb stuff in the back of their pickup trucks and it inevitably blows out when I am riding behind them.
  • Rain gear is a must have but you have to put it on for it to do any good.
  • Wild turkeys and deer travel in suicidal packs
  • There are always people watching lame attempts to park the dang bike
  • Bees can sting you when they slam into you at a high rate of speed. At least they have the decency to die after they sting you.
  • Get your key out of your  jeans before you put on your chaps, jacket and gloves.
  • Get over your hair, nothing works.
  • When getting gas, make sure the kickstand is really down!
  • It isn’t just transportation, riding a motorcycle is fun, a hobby, a passion and in my case, a lifestyle.

Those were the lessons on the road, the other lessons came about inside of me as it does I imagine for most women who ride.

What does gender have to do with riding a bike, we all ride in the same wind right? Well I’m not sure but I know that even though we ride together a lot, we have totally different experiences when we do.

I think it has to do with the nature of being a woman. I know that now I think of my bike as an extension of my personality, but it took me awhile to grow into it.

Women start riding for many reasons but the first word most women use to describe the experience is empowerment. This is closely followed by excitement, freedom, self-reliance and maybe even a little enlightenment.

By its definition empowerment is the process of increasing your capacity to make choices and transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. Riding makes a difference in my life, it is liberating and makes me get out of my self-imposed box. Riding helps me define certain truths.

Women who ride are a special breed of women, we are your wives, your mothers, sisters and aunts. Our roles in life are greatly varied but we share one big thing. We have a love of the open road, we crave the freedom that riding affords and we have found something in the saddle of our bikes that nothing else  with the exception of God,gives us.

It is safe to say that women who ride are exuberant, successful, spiritually inclined, tenacious, risk takers to a certain extent and creative. We are a diverse group but mostly we are a community.

We ride even though we never thought we could, perhaps the hardest (but most rewarding) thing I have ever done was to learn to ride my motorcycle. My bike weighs in somewhere around 850lbs and if she goes down, I need help to pick her up. Parking can be special torture but I am getting better at it. It has a lot to do with the weight of the bike, the slow speed and the fact that hubby picks the darndest places to decide to park.

Where does God fit into this rough and tumble world of motorcycling? Well quite honestly, He is where I am whether I am on a motorcycle or not. My husband and I belong to Christian Motorcyclists Association and are dedicated to our motorcycle ministry and are striving to live the CMA motto, changing the world, one heart at a time in the highways and byways.

God has given me life and given my life a purpose, CMA has given me the support to go out and do the work Godcma-colors edit sent me to do. Riding has given me a place where I belong.