Learning to get back in the saddle

Do you remember the first time you were on a horse?  It can get a little scary getting into the saddle for the first time. Many thoughts go through your head the first time you’re up in the air on the back of an animal that is much larger than you.  Maybe you’re thinking: It’s pretty high in the air. What happens if the horse goes crazy? Would I look good in a cowboy hat? Etc.

Last December, a jockey fell off of his horse mere yards before crossing the finish line. This horse was clearly in the lead and had the race won at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida when the jockey, Emisael Jaramillo, fell out of the saddle.[1] When Jaramillo’s horse unexpectedly ducked, the jockey lost his balance and fell from his mount. This immediately disqualified the horse. This fall wasn’t the result of a mistake by a novice jockey. He was Venezuela’s all-time leading writer with more than 4000 wins when this incident took place.  

In addition to the money lost in bets on this horse, Jaramillo narrowly escaped being seriously injured in this fall. Jaramillo experienced chest pain after being stepped on by his own horse during this fall. Although Jaramillo didn’t break any bones, he spent more than a week recovering from this incident. One week later, Jaramillo got back in the saddle and starting winning races again.

I want you to imagine for just a second the courage it took for Jaramillo to get back into the saddle after being tossed from his horse and trampled on during the race. I think there’s a couple of things we can learn from this courageous jockey. You see, when you get tossed from a horse, you really have only a few options. As I see it, here are the three big options you have when you get tossed out of the saddle:

You can sell the horse

Many people get so hurt or scared that they decide they want nothing to do with the horse anymore. They’re first response after being tossed from the horse is just simply to get rid of it and put the horse up for sale. Although this is a natural reaction, it’s also self-defeating. The horse that originally provided you an opportunity for freedom and a chance to experience the beauty of God’s creation can become an obstacle in your back 40 acres if you don’t have the courage to get back in the saddle.

You can settle for being a horse owner

The middle reaction to falling from a horse is to keep the horse but never get in the saddle. This is generally the response of people who love the animal but have become so scared of the power and the danger that they decide they never want to put themselves at risk again. So, they settle for the middle road. They decide to keep the animal, care for it, feed it, but never ride the horse.

You can saddle back up

I’m not sure which of these two options is worse- selling the animal to get it out of your site or settling for less than what is possible as a horse owner. The only way to conquer your fear of falling is to get back in the saddle.  Yes, it’s scary, but it’s the only way to overcome the past.

By the way, getting back in the saddle might make you a better writer in the future. This is because you now have a better understanding of the power and the capabilities of the horse. Now you have personal experience with what it feels like to fall from this animal. And therefore, you are probably more cautious and capable while in the saddle in the future.

Did you figure out by now that this blog doesn’t really have anything to do with riding a horse? It’s about the struggles that we all go through in life. Of course, life is going to throw you some curveballs. You are going to get knocked down from time to time. There’s no way to avoid it; life will knock you off the horse!  This means, the challenge for all of us is learning how to get back into the saddle again. It means the real challenge in life is determining how to face difficulties and how to confront our fears.

Here’s a piece of advice I’d like you to keep in mind: You don’t have to get into the saddle again alone.  For men and women who know Jesus Christ personally, you have a comforter who goes with you (John 14:26). You have the spirit of the living God dwelling inside of you (Luke 11:13). You have someone who can give you the strength to confront your challenges, no matter how difficult (Romans 5:5). Life will throw you from the saddle. The Holy Spirit gives you the strength to get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the saddle again.

[1] http://www.fresnobee.com/sports/article192080974.html

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