How tightly we hold on to the things we love, people, places, possessions, animals. We seem to find it so hard to not fix, advise, guide, even manipulate without realising the real reason we do this. It is our fear of loss, not being in control, trying to manage desirable outcomes. Even when we think we are doing it out of a place of doing good.
We need to have all our ducks in a row, lined up to feel safe and secure, and yet the more we try to line them up, the more anxious we feel, unable to feel safe with not knowing what lies ahead and the endless "What if's" that play around in our mind like a relentless washing machine that never stops it's spin cycle.
When training horses from the beginning to become confident when handled from the ground or ridden, it is paramount that they have the trust of their person. As flight animals often weighing in excess of 500 kg, they can be unpredictable, which can often feel scary for both the horse and handler, and there are times when things can go wrong with serious consequences.
One of the ways of fostering confidence in the horse is to ask it to step out ahead of the handler on long reins, with the handler on the ground, it is preparation for learning to carry a rider that the horse cannot see from his back. The reins used skilfully and quietly teach the horse directional aids as well as teaching them to move forward on their own, not being dragged or pulled or coerced, but to make a choice to take a step forward into the unknown. It requires faith in his human to know that he is safe to be able to take that step.
Preparation to get to that point has gone on long before in small incremental steps so the horse already trusts what is being asked of him. If these steps are not taken patiently, consistently and skilfully, the long lining can have disastrous consequences with the horse bolting and dragging the handler behind him traumatising them both.
To be able to "Let go" and take a step of faith for the horse means giving up his control to flee, and partnering with the human together. He is far stronger physically than the human, he doesn't have to agree, however he makes a choice based on trust and a willingness to try.
In today's uncertain world we have a choice to make as well. Do we cling tightly to what we know, even if it doesn't serve us any more, or do we step out and trust for something better? It all depends on what we decide to trust or whom.
Letting go of the reins in our life that constrict us can be scary, we hold tightly to the familiar, but what if there was someone who is solid, reliable, and knows us better than we know ourselves? How would that change our decisions? Maybe just then we might allow ourselves to make a step forward in faith and "Let go".
If we do make that step, we can experience a peace that is beyond our understanding, and we can begin to feel and be confident of our future, even when we don't know where we are going.
God is the master of long lining, he leads us gently from behind. Why does he lead from behind? Because just as the horse has to trust his human to have faith, so God has to train us to do the same. If we could see the way ahead clearly it wouldn't be faith. Faith is daring to believe in something you cant see, but believe to be true. We can't see the way ahead, but He can. All he asks is for us to take one step forward at a time.
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying. "This is the way, walk in it".