Monday, June 13, 2011

Look Beyond the Fence


I love riding horses. It brings joy to me. My favorite area of riding is jumping fences. It's been a few years since I have jumped but I still enjoy watching the sport.  With jumping, or even riding in general, it is an amazing fact that the direction of your eyes plays a huge part in guiding your horse.Where you place your gaze effects the whole balance of the horse and rider. When I first started learning how to ride over jumps my one big mistake was not looking ahead. Since I was fearful, I would look down which brought my shoulders down  and prevented a horse from being able to jump effectively.  It risked the horse losing his balance and stumbling. 

      I'll never forget years ago a riding instructor insisted, "Keep looking up and  ahead. Look beyond the jump. !" As she said this she stood at the other end of the ring as I circled and began getting my horse ready to jump. As the horse hurdled the instructor stood beyond the jumps  and caught my gaze. She said ,"Keep looking at me!"  I did.  Steadily, my focus was straight ahead.My eyes looked beyond the jumps which kept my head straight and my body in line with the horse. It was awesome! We did it! The horse felt the confident and sailed smoothly over the fences. It all clicked together. I wasn't distracted and  looking to the side or at events outside the ring . I wasn't looking DOWN in fear. My eyes kept the focus ahead.

  It is like my focus spiritually. I often can get easily distracted by the worries of tasks or the busyness of life.  It seems like our world is full of neverending distractions or interruptions.  

          One day I became really anxious as I dwelled on a conflict I was facing. I found myself worrying ( I hate that feeling).  But I soon  chose to look beyond the fence ahead to Christ's heart. The ride through my day got steadier.  I began to choose (over and over and over ;-) to NOT become overwhelmed but focus on the realities of resting in Christ. The anxiety began going away. Praying and lamenting to God I then felt the burden lessen. My self focused thinking changed to Christ focused and "others focused" (which eventually led to resolution of the conflict-God does those kinds of things!). 

     Even though my "jumping" days were years ago God reminded me of that one riding lesson. Looking beyond the hurdles in the midst of an uncertain ride helps keep my focus on Jesus. He keeps my heart steady. Getting distracted by looking down or away for answers other than in the Bible causes me to stumble.

 Keeping our gaze on Him helps us get through or over any hurdles.

  "Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2

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