Getting Out of the Way

Getting Out of the Way

I watched my girl this weekend as she began grasping new ideas and learning new skills. She is so close to pulling herself up to her knees, given the chance. And she has realized that when she throws something, she just has to look over the arm of the chair to find it again. I love being witness to each new trick, each developmental leap. Ah, object permanence is such a wondrous thing!

But as I watched, I witnessed something that both amused and struck me.

Playing gleefully with her basket of toys, Fiona found a cloth book that unfolds into one long succession of “pages”. It’s a bit unwieldy for a baby when it’s all open, but she loves it anyway. Having pulled it out earlier, she found herself sitting next to the end of the book. She picked it up, but the book wouldn’t budge. She pulled and pulled on it, thinking surely she could lift it to her mouth to chew on (that’s what 7-month-old babies do, after all), but it wouldn’t work. She look plaintively at me to fix the problem, as though it was I who was keeping her from her desires. Or at the very least, I wasn’t helping fulfill them.

Unbeknownst to her, though, she was sitting on the book. Her own weight kept it grounded. I tried not to laugh as I watched her try with all her might, yet fail because she didn’t notice that she herself was the obstacle in her way.

It struck me just then, that perhaps that’s how God feels. Read more

What horses have taught me: “I can do this”

What horses have taught me: “I can do this”

What horses have taught me.

People often relegate horses to the status of an expensive hobby, but I want to show you that the life lessons they teach are priceless.

People describe me in all kinds of ways. I hear a lot of “shy,” “quiet,” and “timid.” The fact is, most people are wrong. I’m not most of those things. Sure, I’m reserved. An introvert. But I’m not as fearful as they assume.

But we all struggle from time to time with confidence. We wonder if we have what it takes. We wonder if we’ll fail, and if we do, what that failure will look like, how it will reflect on us, and what it will mean.

My sweet little girl, Chappy.

With horses, there is a lot of opportunity for failure. But in the midst of that, there is also a lot of opportunity to take chances, to make up your mind and say over and over again “I can do this.”

There is also a lot of opportunity for overwhelming success.

Horses have taught me to face my fear head on. To give more credence to the abilities I know I have than the fear that tells me I’m not enough.

It comes in all shapes and sizes. I had one particularly difficult horse that I fell off of more times than I can count. Apollo is the sweetest little boy in the whole wide world, but he spooks like nobody’s business. He bucks. He bolts. He spins. He twists. He’s like an entire rodeo all wrapped up into one package.

Can I tell you the number of times I landed in the dirt? No. Can I tell you the number of times I picked myself up, dusted myself off (literally), said “I can do this” and stared fear down as I jumped right back up on? Nope. Because it was too many to count.

It also showed up during my first week interning with a nationally known horse trainer when I found myself selected to attempt Roman riding (picture me standing up on a pair of horses) for the very first time in front of a crowd of onlookers. (As well as other tricks, like the hippodrome shown below.)

Hippodrome trick riding.

And the little phrase was reinforced when it came time to break my filly (shown below) to ride all by myself.

My Arabian filly running.

The fact is, my “I can do this” attitude has shown up in so many areas of life…like going to a college more than 40 hours away from home…like going skydiving in spite of my fear of heights…like moving to Virginia for grad school because I know it’s what God wanted me to do in spite of the fact that I didn’t have a job there…like juggling finances and balancing a very, very tight budget…like all the things I face head on instead of shying away from.

Going skydiving with friends.

Horses have taught me that no matter what it might feel like, I have the ability to do more than I could ever imagine.

Because you know what? I can do this.

Other “What horses have taught me” posts: Delayed gratification