August 16, 2013


    My job is amazing. I work at a Christian horse stable, so in a day's work I can do anything ranging from de-worming a hundred horses, to scooping manure, to leading trail rides. I love it, but once in a while I catch the blues, the foggy sleepy brains, or the curse of the dragging steps. Working outside with the horses is lovely (I sometimes imagine myself a true cowgirl... sensitive enough to detect a horse's thoughts, but strong enough to lift countless saddles and innumerable shovelfuls of manure. Her only enemies are the horrible horseflies and dreadful deer flies. Her constant companion and partner is her trusty steed... but I digress; maybe I'll write a whole post about my fancies someday, hmm?), but it also lends itself easily to the whims of weather, fatigue, and grumpy horses. And my mood, I'm sorry to say, tends to fluctuate with the circumstances. 

    Typically my first trail ride is pleasant. The hour passes at a reasonable pace, and the surroundings and my horse are fresh and new. But then I have to go out for another hour, or maybe a third. And I get bored. Or tired. Or my horse is bored. Or tired. Or driven crazy by ruthless insects. And as I struggle to get my impatient mount to stand still and wait for the newbies behind me to catch up for the fifteenth time in the hour, my polite cowgirl facade wears thin. Sometimes I feel more like an outlaw than a Christian cowgirl. Sometimes the patient, kind instruction I'm there to give doesn't come. Sometimes I just want to leave the poky horses and their riders in the plentiful dust behind me. 
    Then I remember: these people paid $30.00 each for what may be their once in a lifetime, first and last,  much looked forward to trail ride. Almost every one of them will be sore afterwards, and some will be sunburnt, scratched, and dirty. They were willing to sacrifice so much for an hour on my trail ride. 
    And Jesus, He called me to a radical life. He called me to love the unloveable, to give till it hurts and then beyond. He said if someone steals one thing from you, to give up the next to them as well. He said to give time and advise, patience and love to these people. He called me to a radical, beautiful life.

    Still, it's hard to remember. And even if I do remember, it's hard to do and be what I don't feel. Radical isn't what comes easy. Radical is Jesus-breathed. So those times I feel like an outlaw? Those are times I'm listening to my old boss, the outlaw cast out of heaven. 
    Yesterday, on my ride number two, outlaw whispers breathed discontent my way as I noticed yellow leaves strewn on the path. Clouds settled over my heart as I listened to the outlaw's mutterings about how sad I am that summer is breathing it's last. 
    I'm so thankful for the Holy Spirit, because at that moment an alarm went off in my heart, where He lives, and shocked me into listening to a radical Jesus-whisper. He reminded me that watching fall emerge through a frown would make me miserable. The radical Jesus-whisper told me, crystal clear, that the way to stay cowgirl sweet was to find beauty. He sent me on a radical scavenger hunt of an hour. 

    Through radical lenses, I saw and counted 100 beautiful things I never would have seen with clouded outlaw eyes. My heart gasped time and time again as I beheld beauty I'd never noticed before. Leaves and rocks and stumps and flowers took on whole new dimensions of gorgeous awe. Even though I'd ridden those trails countless times, I can honestly say that was one of the most beautiful rides I've ever had, merely because I took the radical lenses Jesus had been holding out for so long.

    My heart glowed peaceful sweet, the clouds blown away by beauty radical. Yesterday, on my ride number two, I found my cowgirl sweet spot. Yesterday, I found beauty radical. 

    I can hardly take credit for this blues-busting idea of searching out beauty, of counting blessings. In the beginning, it came from God. Then I've been reading about it here, where Ann Voskamp shares beautiful words about eucharist, which is a neat way to say "thanksgiving".

    Do you have anything you always try to do when you know it's time to let go of the grumpies?


  1. Usually when I am grumpy, I am hungry. So.....I eat =D.

    1. I used to be like that, but then food became too much of an idol in my life, to the point I would sometimes trick myself into thinking I was hungry because I wanted to eat. Now I'm asking Jesus to help me overcome that, and I'm finding that it's getting easier to eat to live rather than living to eat!


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