I held on tight. Dale maneuvered Dolly’s reins as she slowly plodded around Grandpa’s barnyard. This morning, I smile while reminiscing that as 10-year-olds, my cousin and I assumed “we” were in control of Dolly. She plodded slowly with the precision of an ancient clock, habitually knowing the approved barnyard path for all young grandchildren. My cousin was only a few months older, but on this occasion, he was the expert horseman.

At Dale’s encouragement, Dolly passed through the gate towards the lush grass near Grandma’s clothesline. Grandpa grinned as he stood silently by the smokehouse. A glance at the edifice suddenly melded past adventures with the promises of an adventurous afternoon. Now a catch-all for the most interesting artifacts on the farm, the old smokehouse stood like a shrine overlooking a grape arbor. Momentarily forgetting Dolly, I made a mental note to push open the heavy door and search in the dark for the horseshoe set and scooter as soon as we finished our ride.

Suddenly, reality jerked me back as Dolly’s plodding quickened and eased into a trot. The quicker Dolly trotted, the more Dale and I leaned left. Grandpa called to Dale, “Sit up straighter.” Too late. As though in slow motion, I watched myself slide down Dolly’s side. I toppled onto the grass. Instinctively Dolly halted; a sentinel over her fallen rider. My mind was set: I would never ride Dolly again!

I haven’t ridden a horse or thought of Dolly in ages, so why 50+ years later is my mind wandering? I hear my fingers clicking away at the computer. Searching for ideas. Seeking perfect words. It dawns on me: I have a similar longing to get back in the saddle and ride again, figuratively speaking.

 

You see, by my next visit to Grandpa’s, I begged for a ride. Sliding to the ground hadn’t truly swayed my desire to climb back onto Dolly’s strong back for a ride, as long as my next ride had Grandpa controlling the reins!

A New Challenge

Months have passed since I last published on my website. The progression was as subtle as sliding off Dolly. Unexpected life situations demanded much time and focus. I carved out no “me-time” for publishing. Job assignments, graduation, caregiving, illnesses, church, and life, in general, took precedence.  Personal writing, with all it entails for this self-proclaimed perfectionist, was pushed aside. How could I possibly rewrite, revise, and edit to my standards? Plans to pick it up again “tomorrow” gave way to doubts and wishful thinking. “What creative tidbit might I write? Who would read it anyway? What is my purpose?” As though in slow motion, I watched the elusive love of writing disappear from my daily schedule.

Nagging Demands Change

Yet, the nagging need to write never eased.

Why? It is my calling. I am a writer. In much the same way, don’t many of us hunger for more? Increased time with God? More time to explore talents? Increased avenues to express love? When life gets overwhelmingly busy, doubts and fears invade. The whirl of activity demands a conscious effort to reverse. The legacy God placed in my heart forces me to refocus. I look to the author and finisher of my faith. I choose to carve out time for all that burns inside me. For today, I carved out the time – back in the saddle. Hooray!

Hebrews 12:1-2a (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. (underlining added for emphasis)

Can you relate? How can I pray for you as you join the crowd of witnesses and continue the unique race God designed for you? What weighs you down? Won’t you join me in the race?