Thursday 21 June 2012

Why do you run?

A few weeks ago I was entrusted with an assignment.  I was offered to work with a 2yr old mustang name Rio.  He is a beautiful gelding that isn't very comfortable with people touching him or in his personal space.  There are days when I can relate, so in order to win his heart, I decided that I would let him dictate  what was best.

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.
He did offer some sweet moments when he would stand and allow me to rub his neck and his head.  Though the catch seem to be that his courage came from another horse standing next to him or even in between us.

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.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Finding life in a rope halter?

Why do we cling to our tangled past?  Leaving ourselves in a state of vulnerability, as we cautiously weave into the future.

It is true that our past behaviour can predict our future behaviour, but it doesn't have to.  There must come a time when we choose to recognize and correct unhealthy behavioral patterns. When we actively guard our mind from the lies that are holding us captive and think positive thoughts on purpose. Clinging to the promises that God has for us, rather than a past of pain, missed opportunities and failures. 

Often I have been confused about the emotion "vulnerability".  It can feel like fear but is actually quite different.  Fear can be defined as an intuitive, focused awareness of a  threat to one's physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well being.  Yet vulnerability is the awareness that something significant is about to change or be revealed.  How I choose to perceive this change, can predict whether I am victorious or remain a victim of a former wound.

As I prepare to facilitate an activity with my horse partner, I am excited to observe how my participant will work through the emotion she is about to come face to face with.  I am sure she is expecting me to provide her with all the tools and instructions, just as I have done in the past.  I mean isn't that what would make life so much easier?  If God would just give us the tools needed, including a map with clear turning signs. Than our lives would not have had so many bumps along the way. 

To her dismay, I handed her a rope halter and no instructions.  She had never seen one before but has succeeded many times in haltering a horse with a traditional halter.  I am sure it looked like a tangled mess to her, yet she was required to approach the horse and to put it on.

She looks at me and tries to smile, though I can read her questioning eyes.  She holds up the rope halter and tries to sort out the puzzle before approaching the horse.  I wonder what I might be thinking if I were in this vulnerable situation.  I can imagine I might be thinking that  I am going to look like an idiot trying to put this on the horse?  The horse will probably walk away and I will fail.  What will the instructor think of me   if I can't do it?  Is she making me do this alone because she doesn't like me? Why won't she help me?

What ever she was thinking, she didn't allow it to paralyze her.  I told her she could do this and in trusting my judgement she walked herself right over to the horse and made an attempt.  She didn't quite get it the first time and looked to me for guidance.  I remained silent. I could see that she was struggling with something though she hadn't voiced it.  She exhaled and she made a second attempt.  She carefully worked the halter over the horses nose and head and secured it in place.  I asked her to walk the horse over to me.  I inspected her work and congratulated her on a job well done.

As I reflect on this moment and the impact of the outcome, I can't help but wonder why letting go of our past, believing in ourselves and trusting God seems so hard sometimes.  Why we choose to trust our own flawed judgement rather than His and when He is silent, we conclude the worst.

Can it be that as our God presses us to experience vulnerable situations, He offers a side of Himself and a personal insight as to that which hasn't been known or experienced yet?  That a tangle mess of a past has nothing to do with how He feels about us or the future to come.  Sometimes He will give us the tools and instructions needed and other times He will remain silent.  What matters most of all, is in the vulnerable silence, we move forward and know that our past doesn't equal our future.  That life experiences, as reflected in the rope halter, can be straightened out and used as tools for untangling the next part of our journey.