3 Things I Learned from a Jumping Horse

This weekend I went with my family to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.  We had a blast.  They had a ton of free stuff for the kids, some great music, and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.  I think my biggest surprise came when they started the Grand Prix – a show jumping competition. The horses are judged on their ability to clear obstacles and the time they are able to do it in.

I was fascinated by the majesty and strength of these beautiful animals.  As I watched, I noticed several things that spoke to me about the space I’m living in right now.

1.  The horses had what they needed to meet the obstacles they faced.

As we were exploring the center, Caleb spent some time explaining to our 4-year-old how different kinds of horses are bred for different tasks.  Certain horses are bred for their ability to jump.  Other horses are bred for their ability to work.  Others are bred for their speed.

As I watched the horses tackle the jumps on the obstacle course, I realized how much of the time my life feels like that.  I get over one hurdle – only to have another one to clear.  But these horses were bred to jump.  Although many of the obstacles were almost as tall as the horse themselves, they had the ability to clear them.

So many times, I forget that God put in me exactly what I need for the obstacles I’m facing.  I worry about how I’m going to clear them, what happens if I don’t, and if I’m good enough.  I so quickly forget that the God who created me has promised to walk with me and provide me what I need when I need it.

2.  The horses seemed to want to run the course.

I don’t know about you, but when I see hard things ahead, many times, my first reaction is to turn around and run the other way.  As I watched the horses, one in particular was literally chomping at the bit and showing body language that he couldn’t wait to start.  The jockey was having to hold him back while the announcer finished introducing them.

I was challenged to look at the daily obstacles I face in a bit different light as well.  When my 13-month-old is throwing fits I don’t know how to tame – do I look at the situation and see the chaos and stress?  Or do I look at the situation and anticipate what God is going to show me about how to shepherd her heart as God shepherds mine?

When our hunt for a home to call our own seems long, the budget seems short, and I don’t see an answer, do I grow discouraged?  Or do I see a God who wants to go on the adventure with me, change me in the process, and meet our needs?  Do I stay in the place of self-pity and fear?  Or do I choose to embrace the difficulties knowing that on the other side, God will have changed me and I will know Him more in the process?

3.  The horses didn’t do it alone.

An hour or two before the Grand Prix was scheduled to start, I noticed the riders  walking the course and counting the strides between the obstacles.  They charted the course before the horse even set foot in the area and knew exactly where the horse would need to go and how to direct it to best be able to clear the obstacles.

I was struck by how much that action reminds me of God.  He has gone before and prepared the way.  He knows what is ahead – even when I don’t.  Scripture talks about His desire to lead us.  He doesn’t do it to be controlling and mean.  He does it out of love – He wants to see us succeed and clear the challenges we are facing.  We just have to follow Him.

I walked away from the event with a great time, but also the added encouragement that I’m enough, I don’t have to dread hard times, and God prepares my way.  I pray the Holy Spirit touches your heart with the same blessing today.  You’re enough.  Don’t be afraid.  He is with you.

Much love,