“You know how to lunge don’t you?” My eyes probably widened at the question since I really had no experience. She grabbed my arm, pulled the horse’s halter to get him moving, and took us out to the arena to teach me!
I will never forget that job at the AQHA breeding/training facility. The hours were long and I was constantly having to learn new things to even do my job. Leaving the barn drenched from head to toe (from bathing 18 horses) at 9 pm on a freezing night wasn’t really the most enjoyable. Neither was waking up at 4 am in our hotel room to go back to the showgrounds to feed and start exercising for a show day–especially after just getting into that hotel bed a bit after midnight the night before. But I was learning in a great way. . .practice, practice, practice!
Staying on Top
Everyday we had about 20 horses that needed so much of our time and attention. There were only 3 of us and we had to feed, water, muck stalls, put horses out for some time to run, and ride the horses to maintain and further their training. I can tell you what seemed the most urgent. . .those stalls! The smell picks up so quickly when you don’t clean them thoroughly EVERY DAY. But clean stalls weren’t the point of their presence. These owners paid for their horse to live here so they could be exercised and trained in a precise way so that they could win at shows. They were going to hold us accountable to the progress each horse needed to make!
So, we had to feed, water, and clean stalls daily, but the priorities also had to include riding, lunging, and practicing with each horse every day. Missing two or three days doesn’t sound like a big deal, but each day is important to toning the muscles, training the mind, and building the stamina of the equine. It helped me realize why having a daily routine of renewing my mind was so important.
My mind does the same thing those ornery horses did. It wants to revert back to its “home culture”. That is the culture that screams the loudest and has shaped it throughout its life. That is the culture of the world around me. Success is defined by my culture. Proper behavior and my priorities also tend to want to conform to my culture.
But I refuse to be stuck in my culture of winning at all costs, always being politically correct, or putting things above my family! I want to find time to daily train my mind to think the thoughts of the kingdom culture. That counter-culture should define my success or failure. Only Christ shows me what real, true behavior and attitudes SHOULD be. When I put Jesus as the focus of my life the rest of the priorities fall into place beautifully.
Just like those beautiful show horses needed daily exercise, training, and discipline; I need to connect with the King in order to live like the Kingdom-dweller He has called me to be. God knows I need those daily reminders. He is continually beckoning me to come and renew my mind in His Word, His presence, and His Kingdom!
What does it look like?
I would love to be able to just give you “3 Steps to the Perfect Daily Renewal”, but I won’t. That is the rule-follower in me who wants to get my little sticker put on my chart for the day! It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something and that I am a success. Although there is nothing wrong with sticker charts or feelings of accomplishment, if I ever reduce life, horse training, or my walk with Christ to a checklist, I’m probably missing the entire point.
Although I can’t give you those easy steps, I can tell you there are some vital pieces to make sure and include.
- Time spent in prayer is NEVER wasted!
- Get your Bible OPEN!
- Aim to know & love God better and more fully each day!
If you spend time each day renewing your heart through prayer, renewing your mind in the Bible, and renewing your spirit through learning more about God you will be shocked at the change it makes in your values, your priorities, and your relationships with others!
But I Don’t Have Time!
It really comes down to our priorities! Is it easy to carve out a few minutes every day? NO! Are there days that it gets lost in the mound of the urgent. Unfortunately, yes! But does that mean it is impossible to accomplish? NO WAY! We make the time for what is vital to us and we need to realize how vital this is.
This horse can’t win without regular upkeep and training. . .why do we think we can thrive without regular time with our Trainer?