Putting The Cart Before The Horse.
So, we’re well into January already this new year and I wanted to ask how you’re feeling. Motivated and focused or tired and depleted? I don’t know about you but I can rattle on and on to others about how much I fully trust God with all my 2023, and on the surface, it sounds great and oh so very noble, however, the truth is that my well-rehearsed script becomes paper thin when God wants to steer me in a direction I am not willing to go. So, secretly I try to control, manage, or fix each step He asks me to take because you know, I need to make doubly sure He’s looked at that map for my future correctly. Of course, it is definitely high time I pulled myself together, right? But that’s just the point. Pulling myself together is like putting the cart before the horse.
When training a horse, the trainer teaches the horse to perform certain things on their command, this makes the horse more manageable, more compliant, and well-behaved. The process of breaking in a horse is used as the horse slowly learns to willingly accept the saddle being put on them and the bridle fitted into their mouth. Long ago, breaking in horses was done by force and this process didn’t just break the horse in to comply but possibly crushed their spirit too. Nowadays horse trainers don’t use the term as they don’t train horses to be broken but train them to trust in the relationship with the trainer.
And this is where we circle back to my point. Trusting. With all our controlling, managing, and fixing we view God as an uncontrolled, untameable, wild horse that we need to break in so we can trust Him. But deep down we know we cannot break God in so He becomes more manageable and more compliant. Oh no, we get that part of the process in our relationship with Him.
So, what do we do? Well, we decide to pull our carts on our own. However, our attitude betrays our facade of looking as though we are trusting God. Our actions say, ‘I’ll take it from here, God’ just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden, and we pull ourselves together as best we can because our cart carries every precious piece of our lives, and we’re not, I repeat, not going to be led in a direction that feels unstable and uncertain even though our cart is full of all our ‘stuff’ and is way too heavy of a load for us to pull along by ourselves. Putting the cart before the horse feels a lot safer, more secure, and free from the dangers that could lay ahead along the journey than if we allowed a wild, feral, free-roaming horse to pull our carts for us.
Matthew 6:33 asks us to ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness’ and then we won’t need to worry because we won’t be the ones pulling the heavy load and trying to figure out every detail of our future. If we’re to have a deeper relationship with God we need to trust Him completely with the direction He is guiding us toward. We need to listen as He gently reminds us that we cannot put a saddle on Him and a bridle in His mouth so He leads us to where we want to go. We need to let God lead because by putting the cart before the horse we will wear ourselves out.
So, He patiently shows us His character, He reveals His nature and He teaches us that putting the cart before the horse won’t get us very far. All that trying to pull ourselves together so we can pull along our carts does not really work because we need Him to do all the lifting and carrying of the ‘stuff’ we have in our carts. But that’s the great and marvellous thing about God is that He is a horse of a different colour.
He brings light into our darkness, order into our chaos and turns our evening into morning. He takes what is formless and empty and moulds and shapes it into something very good. He says that our weaknesses are really where our strength lies and He calms every storm that rages inside of us. He points out He is the Prince of Peace when we feel unrest. He reminds us His resurrection conquers anything that feels dead and restores all that has become broken in our lives. He mentions that He heals our wounds with His scars and asks us to take courage when fear consumes us. He fills us with hope when we feel hopeless and leads us back to His heart when we’ve been disappointed, let down or betrayed. He replaces the cruel things that we have experienced or what’s been said to us with His kindness. He searches for every lost thing to be found, and He gently advises that perfection isn’t what He’s looking for because we’ll never reach that lofty place, but in His grace in letting stuff go and letting Him take the reins to pull and carry the weight that burdens our souls.
We can trust God when our relationship is as deep as it is wide. We can stop putting the cart before the horse and relax. He’s got us and He’ll guide us through every step of the journey. We don’t need to pull ourselves together to start a relationship with Him, we just need to let Him pull the cart and fully trust Him with the direction He leads us in.
Do you find you’re always trying to put the cart before the horse because you feel you need to control and manage the outcome of each step of your faith journey?
I pray God, for you to forgive me. Forgive my wayward heart, my lack of trust and letting my fears overcrowd Your truth. Help me to keep consistently trusting in the direction You need me to go so I can build my relationship with You. Help me to know You in a more personal way and show me how deep, high, and wide Your everlasting love is for me. Amen.