For all of you barrel racers, you understand the frustration of going through a slump. Maybe your horse has started blowing the first barrel. It could be that you can’t seem to get him by the second. What about him pulling off the third barrel? All of these issues are frustrating and defeating.
Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you practiced or worked that it never seemed to get better? If you have felt this in your event, then this message is for you.
As I continue this journey with my five year old mare, I have learned one very important lesson. Slow work is crucial.
In the past few months, Sadie has began to show difficulties turning the second barrel. The faster we go the worse it gets. After seeking advice from some of the most decorated barrel racers, I learned something special about not only barrel racing but life as well. Everyone’s special advice has had one thing in common, slow work.
Notice that I did not go to my team roper husband to ask for advice on my second barrel problem. I went to someone who was very knowledgeable in barrel racing. Someone who had been there, done that, and got the t-shirts. You’ll see in a moment why this is an important step in gaining wisdom.
After slowing things down, I was completely surprised at how Sadie gave me her best effort, turning the second barrel. I can humble say that we were too slow for the 4D, however I immediately felt a new sense of confidence from her. I sacrificed a run in order to make her slow down and realize that turning the second barrel was “no big deal”. How does this relate to our lives?
God does not call us to run harder or work harder in order to get where we are going. As a matter of fact, he urges us to SLOW DOWN AND REST. If we look in the Old Testament we see that David lived a messy, busy life too. In Psalm 23, David said that God MADE him take a break.
“The Lord is my shepard; I shall not want. HE MAKETH ME LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES: he leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake”
Not only did the Lord make David take a break in a quite place, but he said that the Lord restored his soul. I believe that restore is such an important word in this scripture. The definition of “restore” is to bring back, return, or repair to an original state.
An old horseman once told me that as horse doesn’t make a mistake on his own. He said that a horse has been shown to make that mistake or has been guided to it. Our lives are the same way. God did not intend for us constantly run, run, run. In order for us to live a life worthy of the Lord, it is important for us to do slow work on ourselves. In doing so, God will restore our souls, or like my barrel racing horse we will gain a new confidence.
Plan of Action: (taken from I Want It All by Gwen Smith.)
R: Reflect– The first step in rest is to reflect on what God has done in your life. Don’t just think about the big things. Consider the little things too. Think about how God has blessed you with your horse riding ability. Do you have children? What a blessing that is from God! What about that gorgeous sunset you witnessed last night? Thank God for all of the blessings big and small in your life.
E: Engage– Jesus understands how exhausting life can be. In Matthew 11:28-29 he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Jesus understands what we’re going through on Earth. Remember he walked in from pretty uncomfortble shoes while he was here. He can relate to us, and he promises us rest when we seek him. This is not to say that our trouble will vanish in to thin air, but it does promise us that the Lord’s strength is with us during our weaknesses. Just like I sought advice from proven barrel racers, we must do thing same thing during our busy lives. We must go to the one who understands our every need the most, God.
S: Surrender-Like I mentioned in the engage section, our struggles may not disappear immediately. Our society often gives us an instant response. Google is an instant provider of what seems to be the answers to everything. God doesn’t work this way. Sometimes we have to go through the valley to reach those beautiful green pastures. Take comfort in knowing that God is working in your life. Be patient and wait on the Lord. Just like slowing my horse down for her confidence, we must do the same. Slow down in order for God to reveal what he is doing in your life. We must be willing to be too slow for the 4D, and wait on God’s will to be carried out.
T: Trust– In all of our trails, God can use them to grow our faith and bring Glory to his name. How do we get peace during our struggles and trust that God is really working in our lives? In Philippians 4:6-7 the apostle Paul instructs us to, “Not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will gaurd your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Worrying does not add anything but more stress to our lives. We can choose to submit our request to God and trust that he knows exactly what we need. Trust him today, and be encourage that the creator of our universe knows exactly what YOU need.
In order for us to nail our first barrel or get our turny horse past the second, we must slow work him or her. Friends let me tell you, we are no different. Choose to slow work yourself today.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you today with a humble heart. I thank you for using barrel racing to show me your design for my life. I choose rest today, Father. I pray that as I rest, Lord, that the Holy Spirit would lead, guide, and direct my foot steps. I thank you for the blessings you have given me. I am thankful for my eye sight, my sense of smell, my voice, and long brown hair. I ask that you would give me a heart that never takes for granted the little things in life, because I know that there is someone out there who sees them as BIG things in their life. I trust in what you’re doing in my life. Thank you for always being available and listening to my concerns. Use my life to make a difference for you. You know everything that I need. I trust that everything that is going on in my life is all for your glory. I love you! In Christ’s name I pray, AMEN.
Is there someone you know going through a hard time? Are you struggling to find peace? If you would like for the Houlihan Homestead community to be praying for you and your needs, please post them to our facebook wall. If you would like to keep your requests private, you are welcome to private message me those requests on facebook.