Following the Shepherd

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life worth more..” – Matthew 6:25

Eyes wide and nostrils flared, Aurelius reared up. Instinctively my mum threw her hands above her head and the horse rocked back onto his haunches. Realising she needed help, I reached out and took Aurelius’s lead rein. I calmly and quietly spoke his name, repeating it along with whoa, it’s alright. He flicked a look at me that said “Are you mad?! There’s a horse-eating monster out here, we have to run!” Through his eyes, two mares ran wildly about the field and our German Shepherd puppies peeped out from behind a hill, clearly something was terrifying! He couldn’t even see it! In reality, a rambunctious puppy spooked two horses, got rebuked by her owners and took cover with her brother. No big monster, nothing to fear. Slowly Reali’s focus shifted. He felt my firm hand on his rein, steady. He heard my voice, calm. He took in my body language, leading him gently forward, confident. He paused, he reassessed and he decided to eat grass. The German Shepherds, mares and invisible monsters were no longer his concern, his leader said everything was just fine!

It struck me how often my behaviour mimics Aurelius’s. As I go about my day I see stress and fear run across the faces of my colleagues and friends. I wonder, if they are so worried about that deadline, the price of food, not enough time in the day, maybe I should be too? The reaction in my mum’s horse pointed out the foolishness of getting caught up on what everyone else thought instead of looking to the one who knows. In comparison, my horse, Texas, stood firm, solid as a rock. He looked at me, the one he trusts and decided the crazy horses and overexuberant puppy were just that! I handed him to my mum who happily walked him on. No rearing, no wide eyes, no snorting.

Who we choose to judge the situation by is key, who we look to as a gauge matters. Peter walked on water when he kept his eyes on Jesus though a storm raged around him. Matthew reminds us, worrying doesn’t add a moment to our lives. So which horse do you want to be? I want to be that Jesus girl who when fear knocks, when life gets bumpy, looks to God and goes “What do you think God?” I want to hear his reassuring voice telling me to be still. I want to feel his calming presence as I lay down to rest. There is only one who knows the reality of the situation and that’s God and He promises us His life for us is more than worry.

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