So I’m sure this will come as a shock to many, but I was watching a bicycling video this morning. I’d like you to watch it too!
I mean, first of all, how cool is the landscape of this ride? How awesome would it be to wake up on that first night, surrounded by fog, enjoying all the scenery? And for those of us who are introverts at heart, how awesome would it be to do all of that alone, in solitude, in silence?
But then I started to think about this word “amateur.” Ben Johnson means it in the video as a way to signify that this is something he’s never done before. And perhaps it isn’t the best idea to have your first bikepacking trip be in one of the harshest and most unforgiving terrains available, but there’s really nothing to be ashamed of in being an amateur, is there? There is a point in time when everyone is trying something on for the first time. Even something you will wind up doing a thousand times later, something you might even go pro in, there will be a moment at which you are a lowly amateur.
But then I got to thinking about the areas in my life where I think perhaps I am a professional, but maybe not so much. I have lost count of the number of sermons I have given in my career. It’s got to be in the hundreds. To me, these are no big deal anymore. I write them through the course of a week (read: Saturday). I stand up and deliver them once, and even sometimes three times on a Sunday morning. I repeat the process. My sermons have a workflow for the writing, a pretty obvious flow and structure to them in their delivery. In other words, I’ve got this thing figured out. Both figuratively and literally, I am a pro.
But every time I step in to the pulpit, I am an amateur at this particular sermon. Unless I gave up and recycled something I’ve delivered before (a rarity in my life) then this is the first time I’ve ever tried this one. This is the first time I’ve spoken to this specific group of people. There may be visitors there, and I am an amateur at speaking to them.
It doesn’t stop there either. I am an amateur father for 3 and a half year old boys. I am an amateur cyclist, still trying to figure out the best way to ride the thing. I am an amateur friend. I am an amateur husband. I am an amateur at this particular date on the calendar.
Far from being a put down, I actually think this is quite liberating. When I make a mistake, when things don’t go to plan, there’s a bit of relief. I’m just an amateur. And the fact that each opportunity is a new foray in to something new, I know that every day contains a fair amount of adventure and excitement. I know how this thing went before, but it could very easily be different this time around.
I am an amateur, and that’s exciting.