One of the keys to good horseback riding is learning to let your hips and seat bones follow the gentle rocking of the horse’s movements. Each step of the horse’s hind legs “pedals” the rider along, kind of like s/he is on a bike.
Good riders follow this motion, and can adjust its speed and scope to influence their horse’s gait. But some riders are prone to locking their hip joints, resisting the horse’s movement. Locked hip joints hurt the rider’s balance, limit the horse’s power, and make riding harder than it has to be. Imagine trying to carry a brick on your shoulder without a steadying hand, and you get the idea.
January is that time of year when many of us gather up the reins of our lives and point them in new directions. As we do so, sometimes things like impatience and fear can stiffen our spiritual joints. We “lock up” in hopes of forcing our lives to go a certain way, or we brace ourselves in fear that it won’t. We can get so preoccupied with what we think should happen that we lose touch with what is happening now. And then we lose our balance at every bump in the road.
While it’s important to set goals and do our best to work toward them, it’s also important to remember that God’s power is what enables change. And the deepest, most meaningful and long-lasting changes come only when we let Him change us. Rather than stressing about how we can change our lives and ourselves, we must put Him in charge and let Him guide us.
So if you’re struggling to make a change in your life, maybe it’s time to stop thinking about changing and start thinking about being changed. Instead of asking, “How can I change my situation?”, try asking God, “What do You want to say to me? How do You want me to respond to this situation?”
In our desire to please God, to be better people, or to experience all the good things His world has to offer, let us remember to trust Him. What pleases Him most isn’t perfection, and the biggest blessing isn’t health or money. The biggest accomplishment and blessing is a loving, trusting relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t guarantee quiet roads and a tame steed, or even keep us on the horse. It may not even get us where we want to go. But it lifts us when we fall, gives us a place of stability in the midst of chaos, and brings us to the destination we were made for.
Enjoy the ride!
What steps can you take to acknowledge God’s work in your life as you reflect on and plan for the upcoming year?