On Saturday I got to meet my friend’s beloved horse Genna for the first time. It was so wonderful to see this stunning animal who she has invested in, competed on and cared for since the middle of last year. My friend even let me have a ride…
…which was really lovely until I found myself trotting briskly towards a fence. In a moment of panic trying to make her stop or turn, I in fact clung on tighter and leaned forward (which in horse language means ‘go faster’), so she bucked me off. I completely confused her.
I have generally felt that I had a pretty good understanding of the old adage, if you fall (or fail?), you just have to get back on the horse. I’ve tried and failed and tried again plenty of times over the years – from music exams that didn’t go as hoped to recipes that didn’t work or my attempts to learn to surf.
And then I really did fall off a horse. So, despite being in a state of teary shock, covered in sand and dust, with a swelling right ankle and a rather sore back, as well as being the very last thing I felt like doing, getting back on the horse was exactly what I did.
It’s really tempting when something like this happens to worry about my injuries and pain and my own failings which brought them about. “What if I have lower back problems forever now…?” “If only I had…” I have been praying about and trying to resist these temptations.
One of the ways I have been doing this is by reminding myself that there is much I can be thankful for. I am particularly thankful that I wasn’t more badly injured, that I landed on sand, and my friend was right beside me within seconds with hugs and calm words of wisdom (and later ran me a spa bath at her house!). I’m also thankful that my friends supported my decision to get back on. Even though I’m in no hurry to ride again, I’m really glad that my last experience on Genna and on any horse, was a calm, positive one. Getting back on really does make sense.
Last week was a bit out of the ordinary for me. Firstly, I was staying in Katoomba all week for training with International Teams, the organisation I work for. A week of communal living, learning, growing and laughing with some great people. More on that below…
letting go of control update…
Also, I haven’t been tracking the weather, at least not electronically anyway. Hooray! After I wrote my post last week I moved my beloved weather app from the front page of my iPhone to one of the folders on the back page, and I looked at it just once since then, this morning.
I still thought about the weather often – particularly since it was cool, rainy and misty most of the week. I loved it on Thursday when the sun came out! I was ok with not knowing the forecast at the start of each day – this is usually essential! Sometimes I even remembered to say Proverbs 3:5-6 in my head, and this was grounding. I think I’ll move the app back to the front page but try to limit my looking.
I found great freedom in recognising over and over again that I really don’t have any control over the weather and that I can get dressed in the morning and enjoy my day without this knowledge. Be a bit more ‘take as it comes’ in my approach. Next challenge: leave cupboard doors open while sleeping. One night down and a few to go. Just want to prove to myself it’s actually ok.
much to learn
This week was the most intense time of learning I have had since Law School. Our typical day consisted of a morning devotion followed by about 5 or 6 classroom sessions interspersed with meal breaks until about 9pm.
There’s a song I’ve known since I was a little girl in Sunday School. “The Butterfly Song.” And the key line in the song is “I just thank you Father for making me, me.” I struggle daily with fear of what others think of me. I think badly of myself because I don’t have the characteristics of others. I worry about what people think of this blog. I worry that I will be judged by what I wear, say, think and do. Am I thankful to my creator God for making me – me? It sure doesn’t look like it.
When I let anyone or anything else define me, or tell me what to believe about myself, I deny God (and get sad). I have noticed over the years that the more I trust who God says I am and His plans for me, the more relaxed, joyful and myself I will be. I long for more trust…and less control.
“I am not who others say I am, I am not who I say I am, I am who God says I am.” (Neil Anderson)
This quote from one of our sessions this week resonated with this ongoing struggle I have. It’s so freeing, so true and so full of hope. It is my prayer that one day this truth will become a belief in my heart, soul and mind.
One of the other sessions this week encouraged me to reflect on my values, aspirations for life, my strengths and weaknesses and the people who had impacted most on my life – and to identify why these things make me me.
I just made a start during the session – and found great freedom in tackling it as a “work in progress,” so it didn’t have to be perfect first time. I think that this is going to be a very grounding exercise and ‘tool’ to have. I’m planning to type up and keep a working document on my computer of these things – and every now and again I’ll come back to it and refine it. Has anyone else ever done this kind of thing? I hope it might be a useful reference for when I face dilemmas and decisions – to remember (and see in print) the values and beliefs that are important to me and also to be more intentional in my relationships.
I have been refreshed anew at the beautiful glory of God. I had times of quiet stillness before God. So rare in my normal routine. A photo of a field of tulips helped to bring this home. Now I want to spend time with God in the silence for even just a few minutes every week, every day. He is always there with me …. the question is, will I allow the silence?