|Riding Rio-no saddle, bridle or halter|
For those of you that have regularly read my blogs, you are aware of the beautiful relationship that has grown between me and my horse Rio. God has taught me so much through this horse and I have been blessed to share that journey with all of you.
Recently, Rio and I were working in the outdoor riding ring. He was free, meaning no halter, lead rope or lunge lines. My goal for us was for me to stand on the ground beside him and work in sync, as we moved around the arena together. So as we stood shoulder to shoulder, we would walk together and trot together. When I stopped, he stopped. When I backed up, he backed up and so on.
To refine my communication with Rio, I held a wand in my hand. Never to be use as a weapon, but rather to block unwanted behaviour and help encourage him when he was on the correct path.
In holding this tool, I know in my heart that Rio isn't a fan. He has been mistreated in the past by a previous owner, which has created a slight mistrust for anyone holding the item. Rio and I have come along way with this tool, to the point that he will freely stand with me as I touch him all over and spank the ground close to were he is standing. With my persistence, he has come to know my heart and trust that he is safe.
Today was a day that his past and fear got the better of him. As we moved around the arena together, me in line with his back hip, I asked him to pick up a canter. I used my wand to encourage him to pick up the gait, by waving it behind his tail. I continued with the energy from behind and as he moved into a canter he slightly turned his hind end in, towards the wand, and kicked. In his attempt to strike the wand, he also struck my arm, leaving me stunned.
I wasn't able to continue with our activity, as fear and mistrust set in for myself. I wasn't physically injured but my heart was. How was it possible that Rio had forgotten who I was? How did he lose that knowing that he was safe with me? As I stood in the middle of the arena, watching him graze, I wondered what I was suppose to do now.
Could I trust him? Now it seemed like our relationship had changed and my safety was something I had to consider more than I had prior. I was always aware, as he is a horse. But in knowing his heart for me and his nature, I trusted.
How was it possible that we were in this place? Rio's fear is real to him. There may not be any truth in it, as I have worked hard to assure him that he is safe. But to him, in that moment, he was afraid and responded the only way he knew how. To survive and self protect.
Is it possible that I also respond from a place of survival and self protection? Is my past and those experiences, contaminating my current relationships? Will I be able to let go?
With the the fear and uncertainty that has risen within myself, I am aware that yes, survival and self protection is number one on my list. How do I move forward and reconnect?
It took a few days for me to work through my struggles with Rio. Partly because I didn't want him to fear and mistrust me. And also because I was very aware of my physical safety and needed to find the confidence in him again. That his reaction was not about us but about the wand and what it represented it him.
How often do I miss seeing this within my family and those I love? That their mess is often not about me yet I am at the brunt of the reaction. If I am not able to look past myself, then I can miss loving those that deeply need it. I can miss the opportunity to allow Jesus to live through me and bring peace and healing to a struggling heart.
The heart seems to fight to survive. At any cost. I choose to believe that a heart doesn't mean to do harm but rather doesn't know better and sometimes can't see the truth that is standing before it. I desire to love the hearts of those God has entrusted to me, with everything I have. To remind them of the truth of who I am, even when a moment of fear or vulnerability rises up and then a heart is temporarily wounded.
|Rio's Butt =)|
Rio was unable to pursue me during this struggle. He lives in the moment and when the moment past and the wand wasn't visible, all was well. He went back to being his adorable self but I found myself needing to pursue him. My heart was the wounded one and I needed to re-establish that connection with him as it hurt me to feel unsure.
Do I pursue my family in the same way? When my heart has been wounded from an outburst that isn't really about me. Do I pursue or does pride kick in? Do I demand that the offender make the matter right? Am I a tad bit stubborn, setting unrealistic expectations for how my heart should be wooed prior to allowing that deep connection to return?
If Jesus did not pursue me and love me, even when I turned my back on Him, I don't know where I would be today. He has often chased me down and tenderly loved my heart even though I have wounded His heart with my rebellion and sin.
I have to believe that if Jesus can love this way then I can find the strength to as well. That I can lay down my pride and pursue those that are wounded and broken, even if it hurts. That I won't allow distance to linger to long because ultimately it is the connection that I crave.