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Ski Slopes, Horses, and Getting In Our Own Way

September 19, 2012

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I remember when I was 18 years old on the top of a mountain in The Outback of Keystone in Colorado and I finally figured out how to really ski. It was a nice steep blue, no moguls, just wide fast packed powder. I put the tips down and hit it. I embraced the speed and made myself a promise that I wouldn’t get in the way of the speed this time. Instead of trying to control it too much by making wide clumsy turns, I would let the skiing do what the skiing was supposed to do. Be fast, be exhilarating! The next thing I knew I was cruising, I slid myself to a stop and looked back to the slope I had just flew down with a rush. Don’t fight the speed, I remembered, you fight it or try to keep it from happening and the mountain wins as you tumble down it. When I quit trying to get in the way of the speed the the purpose that the blue slope was there, then my skill as a skier finally began to grow.
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God gave me just a little sense.. He gave me a brain that enjoys thinking and that some would say is smart. Some of course would say that is completely debatable! If you were to ask me my faults however, I would list that one thing I have to work on at times is over-thinking things. When I begin to over think things, I tend to find myself getting in my own way. Or even worse, getting in the way of God’s plans.

I was taught many lessons by one of my mentors, Mr. Jack Holden, while I lived with his family to learn to work with horses. Probably the greatest of the lessons he taught me was how to feel. Working with horses is dependent on communicating with them and the primary way of communicating with them is through the sense of feel. Now for me that took a long time to develop.

The reason is mainly because I would over think it. When you are working with a young horse, overthinking can lead to tension. Tension leads to tightness. These are all things that the horse feels. The animal gets tense and tight because that is what is being communicated to it by your feel. Of course in these situations, it’s hard for anything good to happen because, you are getting in your own way of good communication.

Mr. Jack would probably tell you that he talked to me a lot about relaxing, of letting go of tension that I didn’t even know I had. I remember several of his big laughs after something good happened. He would be laughing and say something like, “see what happens when you feel! You’re smart but ya think yourself into getting into your own way!”

How many times have we gotten in our own way of growth, change, and becoming better. Sometimes we do it by over thinking God’s plans or purpose. Or sadly it’s because we do it by flat out refusing to let growth and positive change happen. The journey of following Christ calls for us to go through seasons of growing closer in that relationship. A relationship that transforms us, that changes us, that makes us grow. It is the best relationship you can have. And one thing about all of the “best relationships” that you know, they get closer together at times by the growth through tough times. No one likes pain. So we must acknowledge that some refuse to grow because they don’t want to go through it, thus getting in their own way for growth.

When we refuse to change.. To grow in God.. Are we then committing a huge act of selfishness?

Think about it.. If we refuse the experience of growing into the beautiful fullness of what we have been created for, then do we also refuse the world, not just God, a chance to benefit from the fruits that are born of living the great life we were created for…

I am quick to own the fact that I am an idealist. I do believe the world can be changed. That in small ways we can help things get to where God’s will is done “on earth as it is in Heaven”. I believe that everyone has a purpose, a reason, and that underlying all of that is the chance to answer the call to be who God created us to be. I believe that the more that people answer that call then the more heaven and earth are brought a little closer together.

If we let ourselves change and grow into the person that we were designed to be then I have faith that the fruits, the good things we do, will make the world a better place.. How cool is that?

I’m writing this in East Texas at the moment and what better example can we have than all the trees around here. Many writers have written about the amazing things they can teach us about what God does. For a tree, simply put, the miracle is all right there in the seed. The acorn drops to the ground and gets pushed into the soil, nourished by water and then grows into what it was designed to be: A strong beautiful oak that will give shade, provide a limb for a tire swing, and most of all provide fruit that will nourish other beings like squirrels and birds and give more oak trees! All of that in an acorn.. We just gotta get out of the way.

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The miracle is right in you too.. God has designed a beautiful fruitful life for you to grow into. Yes growth involves some pain, but I promise the beauty of a life with purpose and meaning and the authentic love you discover in the relationship is worth the growing pains.

I pray that you won’t “think yourself into getting into your own way” or simply refuse to change and grow in Christ. I’d love to see how this world can be better because you made such an unselfish decision and showed all of the world your love..

God’s Peace

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