Although it’s snowing as I write this, the last couple weeks have been absolutely beautiful spring weather here in Snowmass Village. The sun has been so consistent and strong that a couple of the trails have gone from being muddy and half snow covered to dry as a bone in a matter of days. Incredible. I think one of the best things about living in an area that has four distinct seasons is that there is always something to look forward to coming around the corner. What am I looking forward to in the upcoming season? Mountain Biking. Everytime someone mentions summer I think about mountain biking. When I think about graduating I think about mountain biking. When I think about things I can do with kids that I can’t now I think about mountain biking. I think I may have some sort of fever…

Anyways, last week I heard that the South Rim trail was not only open for use but was also dry all the way up to the ying-yang. Could this be true? Could there be dry and open mountain biking trails in April? As soon as I heard I knew I would need to conduct a proper investigation myself. So the next day I set off on my dusty bike for the trails.

Within minutes I found myself thinking, “this sure is harder than I remember it to be…” Admittedly, I haven’t had nearly as much cardio in my life during the winter as I did last summer. So it would make sense that this ride would be more challenging now than it had been at the end of the summer— but nothing could have prepared me for how biking in early spring feels in comparison to late summer. You see by the end of last season I had started to not only enjoy the riding itself but also the passing people that came along with it. Even though I could see riders ahead of me on the trail I simply could not catch them. And to wound my pride even further there was this runner who seemed to be catching up behind me as I rode!

So why am I telling you this? Other than the fact that it is funny I have found that our motivations affect our outcomes. The reasons why you do something mean as much as what you are or aren’t doing. You see, most of last summer I went riding because I love it. However, towards the end of last summer I began to get a little faster and started to enjoy passing other people. As my pride grew I think I started riding so that I could pass people. In effect, I had changed from doing something because I loved it to doing something because I was good at it. It’s a small change that creates huge waves in why we do what we do and how much joy we gain from it. Additionally, I had gone from simply enjoying something to needing to compare myself to others to enjoy something.  

I think this same bait and switch happens in our spiritual lives all the time. Think about prayer. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve begun to pray more regularly because I’ve seen something in my life that made me realize how much better everything is with Jesus as a close friend. Here, I’m praying simply because I love Jesus and want to know Him better. But somehow this good motivation can be turned into something prideful. Even Jesus warned us against praying for the wrong reasons in Matthew 6 (check it out).

So how do we keep from allowing our pride to creep into our daily lives and change the reasons we are doing what we’re doing? First, I believe we have to let Jesus show us the way. Even in the Matthew 6 passage where Jesus calls out the people praying for the wrong reasons, He goes on to show them how to pray Himself (this is where we get the prayer that we say all the time in church– it starts, “Our Father”). Secondly, we need to help each other stop comparing ourselves to everyone else. Taking all these pressures off ourselves to gives us the ability to let God lead… and He leads to some pretty cool places.