My Lesson from a Horse Whisperer
On Kitchen Chat a few weeks ago I interviewed Dr. Lew Sterrett, an internationally acclaimed horse whisperer. Little did I know that this show would transform my life. As someone who is afraid of horses, I did not miss the irony that I was interviewing a horse whisperer. When I was ten years old and went to a church camp, I rode a tall horse for the very first time. This horse trotted away. The saddle was not completely tightened and it slid down the side of this large animal. I fell off. Like a heavy tumbleweed, I rolled through the dusty dirt among the gravelly rocks.
So what did Dr. Lew Sterrett say that changed my life perspective? In the last segment of the show, I asked him to please help me get over my fear of horses. He “whispered” me through my fear by saying that it wasn’t the horse’s fault. The people that worked at the barn should have been more careful. However, he said that my real fear wasn’t horses, but rather the fear of being out of control. His words hit me straight in the heart.
During my whole life, I have had this need to be able to control my environment so nothing bad will happen to me or my family. I even keep my dogs on a short leash, fearful that if they venture too far they will be attacked by the coyotes that live in the woods behind our house. For so long I have lived my life in fear. In essence, I am filtering my faith, i.e. limiting God. Ouch!
So what does this have to do with writing my first novel? Everything! My theme throughout this book is “to let go and let grow.” However, how can I authentically write about this if I myself haven’t been able to let go of my own fear? While editing my manuscript, I realized how fearful and reserved my main character is. She has to be in control. Perhaps I have held back my characters from being who they really are, too. I have kept their emotions reined in (please pardon the equestrian pun).
During these next few weeks before ACFW, I plan to rework the pages not only of my novel, but also of my life. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement along the way.
What fears keep you reined in?
Dr. Lew Sterrett’s insights into applying the principles and techniques of building trust with a horse are applicable to all relationships. You can listen to my interview with this horse whisperer for free here.