I started horse riding only about 2 years ago, just before my 57th birthday. I did used to ride when I was in my teens but got more interested in boys and drinking than riding so gave it up 🙂 It was a challenge to restart. When lockdown came, of course things ceased, and then the stable I used to go changed direction and my friends, all women of a similar age, had to look for somewhere else to ride. This new stables is teaching me as much about my relationship with God as it is about riding.
“Let go of the reins and trust” my instructor tells me often. I have a fear of going too fast and not being in control. He keeps telling me that I need to trust the horse, not pull on its mouth so hard as that really does hurt the horse and believe that all will be well. Very much an analogy there of of how we need to trust God and not hold on to control so tightly.
“Sometimes I think you are more of a passenger on that horse” he said the other day when I was too scared to keep my legs on the horse. Keeping legs on keeps the power in the horse and keeps it moving. Without legs on the horse can slow and its front legs can go slower then its back legs and it can trip. Again with God how often are we passengers, just going along for the ride, not really engaged with what He’s up to?
Then here’s the bit you can feel sorry for me for a while but not for long. A week ago I fell off the horse I was riding and I think I’ve cracked a rib. If not cracked then bruised it badly and I’ve also bruised muscles down my right side and my right wrist. All very painful and painkillers are just touching the surface of the pain. Ok that’s the end of being sorry for me because the fall was my fault!!! I was just going into a canter, which I struggle to do because it frightens me. Not sure why but it is probably to do with trusting myself and the horse. So I pulled on the reins, which caused my poor horse to trip. As I started to slide outwards instead of using my body and leaning inwards and letting centrifugal force pull me back on, I reached for the fence that was rushing past me. Why I do not know! So as I fell my hand was at the top of the fence – not holding on I don’t think – but that is how I’ve bruised my wrist which has aggravated an old hitchhiking injury (that’s another story!!). But it also meant that the whole of my right side was stretched out and exposed. So when I hit the ground that was what I landed on. The fall was my fault!
I’ve been led here on the couch not able to do much but think (and feel sorry for myself!!) and have wondered how often we fall off on our Christian journey and blame everyone else but ourselves. We blame God, Church, fellow Christians, the mission organisation, the devil, the world, etc. But sometimes it is because we were scared, pulled the reins in too tight, leant the wrong way, grabbed for something we should not have done. And so we are battered, bruised, feeling weepy and tired, and not able to keep going for a while.
So on my journey with God I need to stay engaged, not hold on so tight and trust more in the process. Now I will just have to ponder what that looks like in practical ways for another blog post! 🙂