Guest Post: Our Guided Reins

By Brittany Anne

I was terrified to ride her. But not terrified enough not to. On the back of a painted horse, I breathed in the free night air and let the outside sounds harmonize with my heart’s nervous trepidations. It was a beautiful awareness to have that honest, open sky above me and such a powerful creature beneath me. I wanted to be as present as possible, quiet and sentient of another beating heart beneath my own. I had entrusted my safety to the will of this wild and beautiful beast, and that made my heart tremble. But then… I was an intruder in her existence, a timid but earnest stranger thrust upon her unwitting back. Perhaps she and I were similar creatures. Maybe, like me, the heart inside her trembled for its own reasons; terrified, like me, of the things she wanted most.

Until that night, I had never ridden a horse, and as it is prone to do, my fatalist mind ran rampantly with the potential perils of the occasion. But simultaneous thrills ribboned through my bloodstream at the prospect of how many different places this creature might take me. So, as they so often seem to do, the coetaneous emotions of fear and excitement contended for my affections, and the visions of galloping atop that horse, barefoot and bare soul with mysterious night air in my midst and wildflowers in my wake triumphed over any involving my pulpy cranium.

Could I have summoned the courage to mount her back and gallop into the dark alone? I don’t know. I have always seemed to need a steady, guiding hand. Luckily this night, for this ride, I had one. A companion who knew both horse and terrain like they were simply continuations of his own being. He was ever attentive when I requested* (*begged) that he please (oh please!) guide my reins along with his own because I did not have the self-possession to guide myself. That there was someone with me who possessed every needful thing to protect and pilot me was the bridge over my reservations, and I crossed willingly into this expedition. Our ride was hours long and each minute that passed was a chaotic, beautiful one. My fear never really subsided altogether but it was quieted somewhat by the knowledge that my reins were in the hands of someone far more experienced than I. It wasn’t until the whole thing was nearly over that I realized… Somewhere along the journey, he had relinquished control of my reins without my knowing and I had been guiding myself for a great portion of the night.

Within those few metaphoric hours was a hidden gift. We have so many dreams. There are so many avenues beckoning. And the thought of them alights our hearts. But they may also intimidate the delicate parts of us that are still trying to grow. Taunting pangs of insecurity gallop across our souls, and so, all those things hoped for- those soul-awakening things- continue to sit lifeless and unadorned deep inside where all our fragmented pieces of Self commune. And yet, despite the enfeebling thoughts I had that night, not only did I get on top of that wild and kindred creature, but, with some help, I guided the night. I was excited and petrified and unsure, but by the end of it all, I had fallen in love with the whole experience- the terror and the glory of overcoming it.

There is a force more compelling than fear, and more sovereign than insecurity, and that is the pull we feel toward the divinity within us. Just like I was not alone in my ride in the dark, we are not unaccompanied in the things our identities crave. There is a Master of all our lives can be, who knows our destination- all its perils and all its promise- and can guide our reins and lead us there with all the wisdom and direction that only a Father could. This experience was so much more than just one of life’s amenities; it was a glimpse from my Heavenly Father of something I very desperately needed to know: that I am made for things far better than fear. And I hold within me everything that I need to pursue those better things.

Brittany Anne describes herself in this way: Wife, daughter, sister. I love: stained glass, Vincent Van Gogh, dictionaries, and tacos. I do not love: mayonnaise, collarbones, those big red soda machines, Anne Hathaway.

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this moment in your journey, Brittany. I’ve been thinking a lot recently of humans’ relationships with animals and how I want so badly for my kids to feel connected to creatures, to empathize with them, to consider their desires and pain and happiness. Your first paragraph was a great example to me of that kind of mindfulness and connection.

  2. Ezra Elliot says:

    Consider…fear is the enemy’s plan….I don’t necessarily mean BKP, but then again, I don’t necessarily don’t mean BKP.

  3. Liz says:

    Brittany Anne, this post is absolutely gorgeous. I think we believe that fear is wrong/the enemy’s plan as noted above, but we also tell people to listen to the spirit when making decisions, and how often are we perceiving our fear to be the whisperings of the spirit? That’s something I’ve really had to pay attention to in my life (and something I’m not always good at). Am I not doing this because I think it’s wrong to do? Or am I not doing this because I’m scared? Lots to chew on here. Thank you!

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