I am not a mechanical man, one of my brothers was in his twenties when he asked my dad for a drill so he could chop wood for a fire. I am a man who rode buses and bikes well into my twenties rather than learn how to drive (I know how now), a father of three lads interested in racing bicycles and riding them for long camping trips, and married to a gal who loves cycling, and so my options are limited—either I learn to fix bikes or find a way to make more money so as to pay someone else who knows how to fix bikes—thus despite an almost genetic aversion to such matters I find myself watching Youtube videos with greasy hands.
I’ve spent hours tinkering, taken a day-long course, and watched more videos than you would think there could be able something as simple as adjusting a derailleur. The videos are ultimately helpful, but man do they ever make it look simple, clean, and easy. Maybe you have tried to learn something this way as well, I imagine knitting or needlework, maybe playing guitar, or brewing beer, would be similarly challenging to learn online. There is a vast gap between “knowing what you are doing after watching a video” and “actually knowing what you are doing.”
Just for fun, here is a video of how to adjust a derailleur by the most straight-forward and clearest of Youtube teachers. If you took the time to watch it (or even part of it) I wonder how confident you would be if my kid came to you looking for help after crashing (again?!?) their bike in a race. Ya, me neither:)
Christian faith can be like this. You can watch all the videos you like, read all the blogs or books or daily devotionals, and still not really be confident to help out so much a child with their childlike problems. Nothing replaces first-hand experience. This is why the mechanic must get repetitions in on actual bikes and why christians must pray, read the bible, and do works of service regularly. Such do not earn us a spot in heaven, that is a matter of grace, but they do help us live lives of faith and help others along their journeys.
It matters the we take the time because unlike bike repair we cannot elect to pay someone else to do it, there is no farming this job out, your relationship to Jesus is well and truly between the two of you.
Does your mind wander while you meditate? Not every bike adjustment I make helps, but I improve over time, so will you.
Does prayer feel stilted or forced? Imagine unmechanical me, wearing an apron standing in front of a bike stand! You get used to it.
Forget your daily meeting with God? Ask my kids if their bikes chains ever need grease or if they need to remind me of some issue with their bike…God is more patient than my kids, I am confident he will understand and be happy when you come back.
The point is if you want a robust faith live like I want my kids to have access to bikes that roll smoothly (without having to sell one of said kids to pay for this), you are going to have to put in the work and no matter how hard it is or how discouraged you get at times progress is found in the direction of effort. It is worth the time, worth the effort and failures, no one else can do it for you, and we all love the feeling of being an 8 year old flying down a hill on a bike.