It was my “Thursday” RoundPen session with MrBuddy and Roxanne was working with me on techniques to continue building my relationship with this horse, with the eventual goal of him wanting to come to me. At the end of the hour we had accomplished some of the steps. Roxanne then asked me if I was “successful”. Always feeling like these are trick questions, I was hesitant in answering. I thought for a moment, “well, he didn’t come in to me but he did some of the things we worked on”. She sent me home with homework, “before you come back next week, meditate on your definition of “success”.
Next week arrived, with my thoughts on the meaning of “success” I went to the pasture to halter MrBuddy. Back in the round pen, Roxanne told me that today I would be working with MrBuddy alone while she observed from the viewing area. It is always a bit unnerving for me to have someone watch and critique my actions but I followed her instruction and trusted that God was leading. What happens when you leave a performance driven person alone with a performance driven horse? Well, that is where God wrote in the dirt and made Himself very real to me.
Roxanne had told me to “just spend time” with MrBuddy and do what I thought would help him want to come in. Well, give this girl a playbook of rules and I’m going to follow them to the “T”. But with no rules? Now what do I do? Reflecting back on my “Thursday” instruction, I began to initiate those actions, which were met with Roxanne asking me why I was choosing to do what I was doing (2 or 3 times). This set me on a course of frustration because I didn’t understand what she wanted me to do (no rules!). Later understanding the she just wanted me to check in with my heart. Meanwhile, MrBuddy is just running in circles like a robot. I threw up my white flag and stopped what I was doing. Roxanne met me in the dirt, we closed our eyes and prayed, reflecting on instances in my life that triggered this performance driven mentality. Not realizing the whole time I was standing surrendered in prayer, my submitted posture drew MrBuddy to me. I looked up, with MrBuddy’s eyes looking right into mine. Not ever, at any point, in anything that I had tried to do in my own strength, could I draw MrBuddy to me. But now, there he was, eye-to-eye, in a very relaxed non-threatened posture, ears and tail relaxed and all 4 hooves squared up. I stood there in amazement as a tear rolled down my cheek. I quietly asked Roxanne, “what does he want me to do?” “Don’t you understand, Julie, that’s just it, he doesn’t want you to do anything. God doesn’t want you to do anything. When you took the pressure off of MrBuddy and yourself to perform – that’s when he/He met you!”
I tried to absorb as much of the peace as I could in that moment that was emanating off of both of our surrendered spirits and capture it in my mind and my heart. Even now I reflect on it when I lose my peace and try to operate in my own strength. The moment doesn’t end there… I began to ramble on about the “stuff’ going on in my life. Roxanne stopped me and asked me to look at where Mr. Buddy was. He had backed away and started running in circles again. He felt my performance tension again. Desperately wanting that peaceful “God” moment back, I tried to surrender and draw him back in, he came only half way back to me this time. In my times of struggle since that special “God” moment, I catch myself in my frustration and try to surrender my will and draw to God, because I know, in that moment, God will draw to me.
God met me that day in a very dramatic way. Feeling completely unthreatened, I looked deep into MrBuddy’s waiting brown eyes and gazed upon the throne of God, experiencing my Father’s peace and unconditional love – without works, without performance. A moment I’ll not ever forget!
With much love and gratitude for the servant’s hearts of Gary and Roxanne and “the herd” of Returning Glory,