In a recent piece, Building Relationships, I shared with you some of the lessons I am learning from my equine instructor, Gretchen. Like our English Bulldog, Barnabas, she inherited a life goal just by joining our family: be a tool for teaching Scriptural Truth.
In our mind, that goal meant the pets would become therapy animals for others. It was–and is a good goal…but goals are a direction setter and the journey has some awesome scenery. It seems that perhaps God’s purpose for them is that they simply teach us. But maybe the things we learn will bless someone else as well. So, our goal will be reached even if we never get there :).
With that, I share with you my lesson for the past few weeks:
ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
A friend recently shared a video that would inspire anyone. A man and his horse in perfect sync…playing, dancing, flying across the country-side. Partnership and freedom–two powerful longings woven into the DNA of everyone. Why not stop and enjoy these two before we skid back to my world!
That sort of partnership is an awesome goal…not realistic for me but direction setting, for sure! The truth is I do not have the horsemanship skills–or the physical ability–to come anywhere near that sort of performance…and time is not on my side. But it’s okay. You see, the destination is not the greatest delight for the two in the video. Each other–and the connection to each other–is the real joy.
A ‘performance’ is just the fruit of a goal that provided direction. The delight is in enjoying every step taken together toward the goal. The foundation of the performance is relationship. That partnership connection developed one moment at a time.
Each of us has what it takes for building relationship because that is the very purpose for which we were created! You might say we inherited that purpose like our family pets inherited theirs. The good news is relationships are God’s purpose…and His purposes find completion.
Relationships are the foundation of life:
Love requires a relationship to engage it.
Relationships require love to develop.
Its a perfect set-up–the expression of God Himself.
Every relationship is unique…and each offers to reveal more of how God relates with us. Each partner brings unique strengths and weaknesses. When the mix is rooted in agape love and given the time to develop, incredible results bloom.
Back to the Gretchen Connection: What I bring to the table with my horse is inexperience, uncertainty–even insecurity–and a body that doesn’t always like to bend or move fluidly. What she brings to the table is largely unknown to me but broken trust and very different expectations than I have are definite. We are still getting to know each other, building trust, learning how to communicate. I am realizing I don’t always know what I want and other times I don’t know what I am asking.
Therein is the power and potential in my equine instructor: those same issues that bubble up with her are truths in other areas of my life. Recognizing weaknesses is the first step in inviting the Spirit of God to transform me at a deeper level. At that point, it isn’t about my goal with Gretchen–but God’s goal for me. All of our life, in every aspect of our life, God is about producing His plans for us. His plans are always good.
My goals for my horse are a direction that does more than build our relationship or prepare us for something more. Right goals are a pathway for God to do so much more than we can ever ask or think. Maybe one day she and I will do a dance…but tomorrow and maybe even into next month, we’ll just breathe and listen to each other. I’ll learn something about me–and something about horses and Gretchen in particular.
We’ll partner with the moment and thank the Creator who lives in that moment with us. Like a parent watching their child immersed in the joy of play, God will enjoy our joy…because we are His!
We have a tendency to continually think “If this or that, then I will be happy.” It’s a lie, a distraction to steal the present. The moment is now! The God we serve is the Great I AM.
He has given us everything; we choose to enjoy it–or postpone that enjoyment till some future day.