Archive for ◊ March, 2015 ◊

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• Wednesday, March 04th, 2015
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I am not, by nature, a very athletic person, but my teenage daughter, whose sport is horseback riding, convinced me to take a trail ride with her in Vermont last weekend. They gave me a lovely, well-trained horse named Mickey. I liked him right off the bat when he stood still for me to get on! A few steps later, however, I was feeling very awkward and more than a little apprehensive experiencing the movement of this huge animal beneath me. The trail guide told me I should relax, but the trail guide was a 17 year old and I had nearly 40 years on her — “relaxing” was not an option!

Still, I did my best to hold the reins lightly and not stiffen my body everytime there was a slight tip in one direction or the other. Even so, I was not what anybody would ever decribe as relaxed, especially as we went up and down hills and my daughter and the guide kept insisting I lean this way and that. I kept trying to guide the horse and tell him where he should go. I was holding onto the the horn of my western saddle as if it was the only thing that stood between me and my own destruction.

I spent the whole first half of the trip looking down at the back of Mickey’s head and not appreciating any of the beauty around me. Until, suddenly, the guide instructed us to stop and take a moment at the top of the hill. I looked up and saw that we were surrounded by the mountain peaks of Vermont. I heard the birds chirping. There were daisies and other wildflowers. The sun was shining brightly and the sky was an extraordinary shade of blue. It suddenly dawned on me that I might appreciate this ride a whole lot more if I looked up once in a while. I realized that Mickey was a trained trail horse, surefooted and easy-going. It occurred to me that if I stopped trying to tell him what to do and if I could trust him to go where and how was best and safest for him and for me, then I could actually relax and enjoy the ride.

It will come as no surprise to you that I spent most of this trailride praying for my own safety, BUT when I let go of the fear and stopped trying to run things, I actually began to really enjoy the trip.

It occurs to me that this is a struggle many of us go through on a daily basis. Do we trust God to lead us in the right way, as individuals and as congregations, or do we spend most of our time scared stiff and trying to control every little thing that happens? Do we remember to look up from the struggle and recognize the goodness of God flowing around us? Do we remember to ask for God’s guidance? Pray for God’s wisdom? Open our selves to God’s compassion?

If not, we need to consider handing the reins to God, relaxing into the saddle and trusting that GOD knows what to do and where to go.