Halter in hand, I walk through the pasture gate and approach my horse. He looks up from grazing, facing me, expectantly. As I approach, I walk toward his shoulder rather than his face…horses sometimes seem intimidated by a direct face-to-face approach…and I want my approach to be welcomed. They’re prey animals…programmed by the Creator to be sensitive to such things.
I extend my hand in greeting for him to sniff and catch his eye. It’s always polite to say hello before asking favors from others. Once welcomed into his sphere, I gently pet his shoulder and neck. Then I step back to pet his face and show him the halter, “May I put a halter on you?”
After slipping the halter on and fastening it, I take up the lead line and start to lead off, “Would you please follow me?”
I lead slightly to the side. Horses tend to be naturally less resistant to a side-tug than to a head-on tug. It has to do with directional strength and balance.
He may follow right away. Often, though, he’ll hesitate. He’s not being stubborn. He just feels the pull of the pasture’s comfort, knowing I may ask him to work.
As I feel the lead line straighten and resistance start to build, I pause without looking back. I’m not yet pulling. There’s just enough tension in the rope for him to feel it, but not anything to brace against. I am asking him to follow. I am not demanding that he follow.
I feel a little slack as he shifts his weight forward, “Okay, I’m coming,” and respond by giving more slack back, “Thank you.” Then more slack is added as he steps toward me.
I take a step, feel the rope lift, then feel it go slack again as he steps with me…and I give slack back, “Thank you!”
Now, we’re moving together in synchronized step. He times his steps to match mine…as we both feel our connection through the lead line.
This is it! 🙂
This is the start of a good ride.
It starts right here, with a light ask…a soft response…a well-timed release…leading to synchronized movement.
Isn’t that how God leads us?
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. (Psalm 23: 1-3)
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; (John 10:27)
As the cattle which go down into the valley, The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So You led Your people, To make for Yourself a glorious name. (Isaiah 63:14)
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
Shouldn’t this be how we interact with other people?
What would happen if, rather than demanding our rights or trying to force others to see things our way, we, instead, gave a light ask, then responded to the slightest change by dropping all pressure? Might that work better? Might that more closely resemble how God approaches us?
What do you think?