December 5, 2007
by Meghan Kleppinger, Editor, Christianity.com
“He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.”
Fellow editor, Sarah Jennings, and I are a little horse crazy. Admittedly, when we get talking about the equine world, the last place any “normal” person wants to be is around us. Our eyes sort of glaze over as we discuss riding, jumping, chaps, boots, helmets, trainers, horses, and our love of “stable smell.”
Recently, a mutual friend got stuck alone with us and eventually, the “horse talk” began. Our friend thought us a little ridiculous. She shared that she didn’t understand why Sarah and I would spend our time and money on something fruitless like riding when we could be using our energy and resources in the church to serve others. In a way, she suggested it was a waste of time.
What I thought was, “If riding horses is wrong, then I don’t want to be right!” What I said, however, and with all sincerity was, “I ride so that I can be of use to others.”
Both Sarah and I agree riding to be therapeutic. For me, when I’m on a horse, everything else going on in the world fades away. I’m forced to relax and focus on the task-at-hand. Not only is it good medicine, it has personally become a time of worship and prayer. I can’t look at a horse without being reminded of my heavenly Father and his goodness. Sometimes when I’m riding, my eyes grow misty, and with a childlike awe I’ll whisper, “Lord, You created this beautiful creature… and You are letting me ride her!” Honestly, riding is such a challenge that much of the time is spent simply praying that I don’t fall off and then thanking Him when I don’t!
Basically, riding is one of the few times that I’m able to get away from everyone else and be alone with God. There are no cell phones or e-mails or traffic or anything else to distract me. Expectations are few and there are no deadlines to meet. Except for the sound of the horse’s breath and the clopping of horseshoes against the ground, there is complete silence. During these times, I’ve developed trust, patience, and a lot of humility. When I hop off a horse, I’m a bit exhausted, but I feel like a new girl ready face the world again!
Winston Churchill once said, “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.” The same is true when it comes to time spent studying God’s word and seeking His guidance.
When we pray and study His Word, everything going on around settles for a bit so we can focus on Him. He teaches how to deal with struggles. This precious time alone allows Him to stretch and challenge us, and it gives us the chance to hand the reigns back to Him. Through this process, He renews, refreshes, and prepares us to step back into our busy lives as useful vessels, ready to do the work He has called us to do.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Christmas is just a short time away, and with this joyous season comes a lot of holiday related stress. Make an effort to spend some time each day with the ultimate “De-stressor” and Refresher! You will never regret making time to pray and study God’s Word.