Take Off the Reins: memoirs of a control freak
Updated: Aug 29
Riding horseback in the mountains of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee the last thing I was expecting was to have a moment where God spoke clearly to me about my current season by using one of his beautiful creations... the horse I was riding on.
I was incredibly excited to get to ride a horse again after six or seven years. The first time I rode I was 16-years-old and not at all the person I am today. I mean that in both good and bad ways. There were things that I hadn't picked up on yet, things that I'm struggling to break away from. The one thing, in particular, I'm talking about: being a control freak.
The instructor told us what to do and what not to do before we began. The horses knew to follow behind each other, they knew the path and all we had to do was ride while occasionally making them stop or keeping them from feasting on patches of grass.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may bot be disabled but rather healed. Hebrews 12:12-13
So there I was riding a horse again along with my cousins, enjoying every minute of laughter and beautiful scenery. Then I noticed I was doing something... As my horse was following behind the others, sticking to the path, I would continuously pull the reins of my horse slightly to left or slightly to the right when I felt that he wasn't staying on course.
I was uncomfortable with feeling as though he was veering close to the edge or heading in a different direction. My ability to control the horse by using the reins to indicate a slight change in direction made me feel more comfortable. The fact that the horse not only knew to follow behind the others but also knew this path that he had walked a number of times completely left my mind.
There was a moment towards the very end of the ride that I did put aside my discomfort or fear that the horse would walk off the edge of the mountain (crazy, right? I mean the horse wants to stay alive just as much as I do!) and let it walk the path, following behind the others.
I let the reins rest on my thighs and saw that the horse indeed knew what he was doing and where he was walking. My constant need to shift directions or "take control" when I felt uncomfortable made no difference to my horse. I was safe the whole time.
This season that I'm currently in and not entirely ready to talk about just yet has been incredibly long and full of lessons. At that moment, riding on that horse, God was showing me and telling me that there is no need for me to always have control or try and get ahead of Him. My discomfort comes as no surprise to Him, but there is still a path that I have to walk. A walk that I can not sustain nor control all on my own.
In James 1: 2-4 which says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." It's clear that I (and you too!) should not try to get out of anything prematurely or even get ahead of God, but instead let the test do its work so that I (we) become mature and well developed, not deficient or lacking in any way.
God doesn't need me to direct the path that He has made for me! HE. GOT. THIS.
There's beauty in relinquishing control, but it's been a hard thing for me to do in this season of my life because I don't see things happening. I don't see my circumstances changing. I stand behind the door of contentment instead of walking right in.
My constant need for control in my life stops me from being truly content. Stops me from resting in the promises of God. Stops me from relying on God more than I rely on my own understanding. Stops me from just being still.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to content in whatever circumstances. -Paul, Philippians 4:11
Maybe you're a control freak like me or maybe you're in a similar season, it's time to take off the reins. There's literally no fun in trying to control every aspect of our lives and who knows what that can lead to! Trying to sustain yourself apart from God because you wanted to go ahead of Him or bend, shape, and control things for your comfort SUCKS.
The horse I was riding knew what he was doing and where to lead me, the same way God does. There is no limit to what He can do. Regardless of the control, I want to have, God has better for me than what I could have ever crafted with my mere human hands.
Thanks for reading, and don't forget... Be great! xoxo.