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.