I leaned low over the saddle, eagerness and excitement taking hold of my heart and mind.
For it did not matter how many times I had done this before, each time was nothing short of spectacular.
I felt Diamond, my horse, shiver in anticipation. Together, we were ready to…
Race the wind.
All it took was one whisper…
And we took flight.
I gripped the saddle horn as an explosion of power erupted underneath me. We surged forward as one, tasting freedom in one of its rawest forms.
I laughed in delight as I felt Diamond reach for another gear, lengthening his stride.
Freedom took a scary turn…
For one of my reins broke.
I felt the snap, and glanced at the now useless piece of leather in my hand as the ground continued to blur past at a dizzying rate. My delight was quickly turning to alarm and a feeling of “Uh-oh, now what?”
Thankfully, that day, there was another rider with me. When she saw my predicament, she yelled at me to hand her my other rein. Transferring that rein into her hands, we began to do large circles in the field, until we came to a controlled stop…
Safe and unhurt.
Safe and unhurt because we were able to keep control of the situation. There are other times when being on an out of control horse has not ended so well.
One time I was riding a black mare named Domyno to chase cows. As we crossed a ditch, she became entangled in some wire that was buried and hidden in the grass. As she catapulted upwards in what felt like a volcanic eruption, I felt my body leave the saddle, and fly through the air.
That landing hurt…
What caused the outcome of these situations to be different?
In both instances there was an unexpected, unplanned and potentially dangerous situation that occurred.
But in the first case, we were able to respond in a way that prevented the horse from running away, out of control. Instead, with the help of my friend, the horse was quickly brought under control again, and I came to a safe stop:D
In the second case, as that horse bucked her way out of the ditch and the wire, I did not bring her under control right away. It happened fast, and I was not ready. By the time I responded it was too late, and my back paid dearly for that. Thankfully, the horse was not hurt, and my back survived to ride another day:D
As I reflect on these two stories, I am reminded of the danger of runaway, out of control thoughts in my mind.
When unexpected situations happen or difficult circumstances seem to erupt before me, leaving me temporarily filled with a feeling of fear or overwhelmed, how I respond to those thoughts will often determine if I come through that happening with confidence faith or if I will go through it with fears and confusion and chaos yapping at my heels all the way.
What makes the difference?
The difference is all in who is in control.
If my thoughts have free rein…look out! Chaotic thoughts running out of control in my mind often leads to doubt, worry, fear, confusion, discouragement, defeated, etc. The result is very similar to that of picking myself up off the ground, bruised and sore, after being bucked of a horse.
However, if I take those same thoughts of fear, dread, doubt, confusion, discouragement, etc. and make them obedient to Jesus Christ (2. Corinthians 10:5) I can keep my thoughts under control, and respond to the situation with faith instead of doubt…with confidence instead of fear…with peace instead of chaos.
For when I take my thoughts and make them obedient to Jesus Christ, I bring them under the umbrella of who God is and His promises. When this happens I am reminded of who God is –
God Almighty. There is none higher or more powerful.
Jehovah Jireh. He provides for every need.
The God of Love. The One whose love for me is higher than the highest heavens and endures forever.
The Faithful One. His faithfulness reaches to the skies and continues through all generations.
My Shepherd. The One who directs my steps, supplying all that is needed, making a way for me, ensuring that I lack nothing, while at the same time providing the comfort and courage that I will need to boldly follow where He leads.
And somehow, as I rope in my thoughts with the truth of God’s promises, presence and provisions, they don’t have the opportunity to run helter skelter in my mind and stir up a storm of chaos…of dread…of fear…of doubt…of discouragement…of dismay…of giving up…of giving into that temptation that just seems so delectable I can’t resist it.
And instead of flying through the air in a tumult of confusion and landing in a heap on the ground, broken and bruised, and trying to pick up the pieces…
I find myself being guided by God Himself and being brought a place of peace in the midst of the storm …a place of truth in the midst of tempting lies…a place of courage in the face of fear…a place of joy in the face of discouragement…a place of comfort in the face of pain…a place of love in the face of rejection…a place of direction in the face of confusion…a place of wonder in the face of the ordinary…a place of thankfulness in the face of grumbling…a place of protection in the face of enemies…a place of shelter in the face of danger…a place of quiet in the face of explosive situations…
The simple truth, is that with Him…
My initial reaction does not have to dictate my initial response!
With controlled thoughts that are obedient to Jesus, I spend a lot less time flying through the air and laying in a crumpled heap on the ground. Instead, I spend a lot more time where I want to be…
In the saddle, facing life armed with God’s perspective and confident faith in the Shepherd of my soul.
…We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. 2. Corinthians 10:5b