When I started spending time with him, I would sit in his paddock, welcoming an approach. He would stretch out his long neck, not getting too close, and sniff my cheek or my hair. He would pull away when I held onto his halter, so I would let go, allowing him the freedom to choose. He would stand with me when I offered him food but just long enough to eat and run.
|Rio is grey/white & hiding is nose in Dealers neck.
After thinking about what was in Rio's best interest, I realized that allowing him to run from me wasn't ideal. I needed him to trust my heart and my intent. I had no intention of hurting him, though I was aware that what I was asking of him was creating an anxiety that he needed to work through.
Today our greeting was the same. I approached Rio and when I got too close for his liking, he walked away. I decided to add some additional pressure to the situation when he walked away, and less pressure when he remained. It took a few attempts but Rio got it and by the end of our time together, I was able to stand next to him while he ate and I could rub his neck and head.
I can't help but ponder the similarities between my relationship with Rio and my Lord Jesus. There have been many times throughout my journey, where God has asked me to stand and work through anxiety. Like Rio, my anxiety was fear based and this fear needed the right kind of pressure in order for it to diminish. Pressure that would bring freedom and a new perspective. God has graciously granted me the free will to turn and run but there have been those times that He has insisted I stand. Stand and trust, therefore, breathe and allow.
To trust my heart and my intent, for Rio means life or death. There have been times when I have felt the same way about life. To feel one more heart break or admit to another failure, would be to much. Yet Rio has to learn that I do have his best interest at heart. The discomfort he feels now, is only for a season and he will be much stronger for it. But it all begins when he adjusts his footing and stands, resisting the temptation to flee.
As Rio and I work though this together, he will begin to know my heart. He will experience my gentle hand and a kindness that he has never known before. I know this because his anxiety would not be present if kindness and love had been apart of his past.
Although I have walked with my God for 15 years, I still feel the need to flee. I have felt His gentle hand. I know His heart. He has guided me through some heart breaking and fearful situations. He has made Himself personally know, when the voice of others have clouded the truth of who He is and what He is not. I know His love but not because I loved Him first or lived a life of perfection. I know His love because He first loved me. He held out His cross to me and when I accepted, He has never left my side.
Will Rio continue to flee? Yes! That is how he is wired to survive. But may those times drastically decrease, as he learns to walk right along side me and trust me with his life.
I know my God wants me to stand, breathe and allow. And I want that also, yet I do know that there will be times that I will flee. I will be thankful for those moments that God allows me to run. Though there will be other seasons, that I must adjust my footing, and remember His promises and His heart. I will trust that when His pressure increases, it is for my good and I will be stronger for it.