As I change and try to hold onto what I know, all I do is make more of me and less of God.
Throughout my life I have been successful. As I look back, I’m not sure that being able to manage ‘life’ through my own efforts has been a blessing. I was raised to ‘manage’ and I’m not saying that is a bad thing. What I have had difficulty with is when, as I age and can not manage life outcomes as before, I become fearful and anxious.
As I grow older, my children have grown and now are living away from me both physically and spiritually, retirement looms. All that I ‘know’ is being taken from me and my ‘managing’ life is no more. I am learning humility, just as I learned succeeding, and with the opposite skill set ….. the more I try to be humble the more difficult the process.
So, I’m walking in the field with our 13 horses. Nitro is eating the new green grass and looks up at me. As I walk toward him I feel him withdraw which brings the feeling of anxiety to me. I think, lets practice humility.
What’s funny is we tend to follow feelings. Feelings aren’t the center of reality. God is the center of reality. I want Nitro to come to me, to want to be with me. This would ‘feel’ good, it would be on my terms, I would be in control. But to practice humility, I must go lower, I must become the gift—not Nitro.
As you can see, I am failing at this humility thing. I need to pray for ‘pause’ in my times of hurt—have discernment to know what is the intent and how relevant it is to God’s work or ‘eternal value’.
I sit down on a rock in the field and Nitro walks up to me.
It is difficult to be without control and to trust, to have a large horse walk up to you and look down on you. But as I give ‘me’ up, slow down, get small ~ thanksgiving shows up.
I was a sprinter on the UCM track team in college and practice made perfect …. just like learning how to type. I have coached track, cross country, volleyball, dance. I am quite capable of teaching skills. So, to practice a behavior is a natural reaction.
Discerning when my thoughts are on their way to addictive control is my challenge.
Allowing something into my thinking to go beyond myself (creating a story in my head) then I use only my effort to try to fix it. It is what happens next…. The thinking about, working over, building up process that turns into anxiety and fear and stress. I think that is what has become addictive.
As I reflect on catching Nitro in the field, I think about God’s intent for us with His creation, our salvation and how he has given us free will. In my mind, I needed to have an obedient horse. Not just to be able to catch my horse, but for Nitro to walk up to me, willingly, on my terms, would be what (in my head) I pictured, before my transforming thoughts.
That is the foundation of my view of this world and how I travel through this time in my life. So when you have that as your basis for filtering your events every day and everything that hits you every day, you compartmentalize events into various categories. For example; I know that in horse language I could walk to this area or that area of Nitro’s body and apply pressure to get Nitro to ‘do’ what I want. In other words, I could manipulate the situation. But when I gave that up, he chose to come to me. That moment was very satisfying, giving up control (which is truly fed by fear and a puffed up self) and allowing … this is all new to me.
For whatever reason, I think retirement, and that sad feeling has to do with equating work with my value and worth. The vastness of not having a daily agenda, kids coming to me, my being the ‘source’ is daunting. See how that transfers over to my dealing with Nitro, my kids, my student, and my husband? Coming from a teacher standpoint, it is a little fearful to not have that. There, I admitted it…facing that thought…and my perceived control….
I’ve had that element of a performance event where there was the expectation of excellence all my life. That was my focus, to perform at that level and whatever the outcome = my worth.
So, join me as I relinquish control and learn with God as my teacher.
This is my prayer, as a thank you to God our Father for His sacrifice in sending His son to bear my sins (from Ann Voskamp—Dare to Live Fully Study Guide).
Dearest Father in Heaven, creator of all things on this day in your world of creation ~ I stop and give thanks to you, for the ability to give thanks. I also know my mind is not able to comprehend all, therefore you piece together teachable moments to move me close to you. Your sacrifice of your son is but one of those orchestrated love gifts for me to get a glimpse of how much you love me and want me to freely turn to you, love you, praise you….
Cindy Shannon, married almost 10 years, 53 yrs. old. High School Business/Marketing Teacher (soon to be retired). I live on a farm with 13 horses, 30+ cows, 12+ chickens, 2 dogs and my husband. I have two adult children–one is married and lives in California where she is an architect and my son is a senior in college, to graduate (God willing) December 2014. My life has included 3 marriages, a miscarriage, a grandson who was still born (Ren) May 1, 2013, parents who are still living, 2 older sisters and 1 younger brother. I started writing my blog because of what God revealed to me through horsemanship lessons with my horse Nitro. As a 53 year old woman, going through menopause, raising children, single parenting, career, divorce and loss are all a part of who I am. I have struggled with worthiness and abandonment.
My blog is Fifty Plus Living as Women (www.cinshanna.blogspot.com). In my blog I walk through lessons and how they have redeemed me or helped me through these dark times in my life. I have 18 lessons with Nitro my horse in my blog (I’m up to lesson 12) and I invite you to journey with me as I learn to cope with these new life ‘opportunities of growth” (that is what I have decided to call our arguments as a married couple).