This holiday adventure was unlike any other I had ever planned. This was the Christmas of 2020: a socially-distanced Christmas morning, alone in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a single gal who loves to plan meaningful trips to share with others, I knew I would need to plan something to make this potentially lonely Christmas something special and memorable.
I had recently purchased a motorcycle and received my riding certification. I thought to myself, This is the perfect opportunity to ride to one of my favorite desert places to meet with Jesus— Red Rock Nature Preserve.
So, the planning began. I’ll take my Bible and coffee and cookies to eat at the overlook. It’ll be great! And I can test out my new action camera on the way. I’ll have to make sure everything is charged and ready to go.
Now, when I say, “Everything is charged,” I am also referring to the motorcycle itself. You see, this motorcycle is a bit unconventional in that it is 100% electric. No gas tank. No clutch. No gear shift. Just roll on the throttle and go. It has a charging cord that plugs into a regular three-pronged outlet for convenient charging overnight in my garage. Easy. No stress, right?
Early that cool Christmas morning, as the sun was coming up, I layered up, gathered everything together, and headed out to the garage. After the first five minutes on the ride, I realized that my gloves were not designed to protect against cold winter winds. Also, the three layers of clothing probably should have been five. Around the halfway point to the overlook, I pulled over to thaw a little. I did that about three more times before I finally reached my destination. I gingerly removed my gloves and began trying to warm my hands. The pain was real and somewhat distracting. But soon I was sitting at the table with my Bible open, sipping hot coffee, and nibbling on my cookie breakfast.
The Las Vegas sunshine soon warmed the morning air, and I set up my action camera on my handlebars. As I began recording on the ride back home, I decided to turn around and get this same stretch of scenic desert road from the other direction heading back to the overlook again. Once back at the overlook, I happened to look down at my battery range…. It was only at 30%! I had started at 100% that morning. My brain started racing through locations that might have an electric hookup available on the way back, and then I remembered: I left the charging cord in my garage at home.
Range Anxiety—It’s a real thing. I had read about it before I purchased this motorcycle. I had seen several videos about owners who upgraded their battery voltage and purchased the “quick charger” because of range anxiety… and now, I understood why. Because NOBODY wants to be stranded in the desert on the side of the road on Christmas morning!
Suddenly, the phrase “regenerative braking” popped into my head, and I checked to see which mode my motorcycle was running in. I had been riding in “sport” mode, which drains the battery. I switched to “eco” mode, which engages this wonderful feature called “regenerative braking.” Every time I brake, a little bit of power goes right back into my battery.
Slowly, slowly, I made my way back home, praying the whole way back. I began to breathe a little easier when I got within pushing range. Finally, I pulled into my garage with 8% left in my battery, and my gratitude tank overflowing! I breathed a huge sigh of relief and plugged her into the wall outlet to recharge for our next adventure!
Living life in a sin-cursed world provides plenty of stress each day.
Most of my stress and anxiety on this occasion could have been avoided with some careful planning and forethought. If I had worn warmer attire. If I had remembered the charging cord. If I had been riding in “eco” mode instead of “sport mode.”
But let’s face it, sometimes we find ourselves in stressful situations that are unexpected and unavoidable. Living life in a sin-cursed world provides plenty of stress each day.
Are you feeling the stress of life’s “range anxiety”? When I begin to feel this way, I perform the following spiritual heart stress test:
1. Am I plugging in daily?
Basically, am I recharging in Jesus every day? Have I spent quality time seeking Him, learning about Him, and talking with Him? Jesus gives us two other word pictures in case the “plug in” isn’t doing it for you.
For the farmer or rancher amongst us, are you yoked up with Jesus every day? Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
For the botanist amongst us, are you abiding in Jesus every day? Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
2. Am I taking advantage of “regenerative braking”?
In living a life of Christian service, Mary and Martha remind us it is so much more important to take break times at Jesus’ feet, learning from Him and worshiping Him.
During a 9-month stint of volunteer work in Israel, I soon learned this Hebrew phrase is equivalent to “Break time!” We all know that our personal performance in physical tasks improves with regular, well-timed, and well-used breaks. In living a life of Christian service, Mary and Martha remind us it is so much more important to take break times at Jesus’ feet, learning from Him and worshiping Him.
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38–42).
3. Am I suiting up for battle?
Before getting dressed for the day, I usually think through both comfortability and appropriateness of what I wear for whatever events or activities I have planned for the day. It usually goes better if I’m alert when I pick out my clothes for the day… usually.
Spiritually speaking, our event or activity for the day is “spiritual battle”… like, every day. Mark it down. Be prepared. Be alert when you suit up. God has already provided the armor, but we need to put it on (Ephesians 6:10–18; 1 Thessalonians 5:8).
4. Am I asking for help?
Wham! I just blindsided some of you with this final point because I didn’t call and ask for help in my opening story. However, there was a time I actually had to humble myself and ask some complete strangers if I could plug into their RV to give me enough charge to make it back home. I asked for help.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
As we practice these principles daily, may we stress less and utilize the power, rest, armor, and help God gives us through faith in Jesus Christ.