Most days, I feel like a work horse.
My life is full of obligations that live on repeat.
At home there is the never-ending cycle of laundry, cooking and cleaning, school drop-offs, shaken up with a doctors appointment every now and again. At work, it’s bookkeeping, reconciling checkbooks, onboarding and offboarding employees, and all of the details in between. Some days, it feels like I continually pour myself out, only to be left completely empty at the end of the day…and then I need to wake up and do it all again the next day.
On one such day recently, I was driving to work, feeling tired and like my recent Christmas break was full of more work than rest. I was thinking about years and seasons past…times I’d spent cross country skiing through fresh Sierra snow, instead of driving on busy highways; living in a house with a view of mountains, instead of hundreds of vinyl-sided houses. I was feeling melancholy and nostalgic…an exhausting combination to start out a busy day.
Then on my Daily Audio Bible podcast, I heard the following scripture:
Psalm 32:8-10 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
I instantly thought of how different the life of a work horses is from the well-kept horses I see in the barns scattered throughout the Tennessee countryside.
The work horses have a daily objective and purpose. In the mountains, they carried heavy loads of food and provisions to hikers and the high country camps. In the Grand Canyon, each day they carry tourists down the 5000 foot descent to the Colorado River; and then the next day turn around and carry the tourists back up.
The horses kept for pleasure have a different life…one that is far more focused on their wants and likes, than that of a work horse.
I realized that what I most wanted in life, at that exact moment, was to be a kept horse, in a nice stable with acres of grass to graze at my leisure.
Instead, that day as I drove to work, I came to the undeniable realization that my current lot in life is to be a work horse. I am a hard worker who is diligent and thorough. I’m faithful and trustworthy and consistent. Just like so many of you who are reading this.
But, as the scripture references, I also tend to be a horse that needs to be controlled by bit and bridle. For the past four years, I’ve been engaged in a spirited battle of MY will for my life, versus GOD’S will.
My will looks like mountain streams, and beautiful views and long walks along the Tuolumne River with my husband. God’s will currently looks like a 40-minute commute, wrangling with Quickbooks, and time away from my family…but it also includes helping to make a fantastic ministry even better, using my talents in new and interesting ways, and being part of a team who is engaged in actively serving and helping people in our community.
Living out God’s will for my life requires faithful hard work and a dozen daily decisions to set aside my own ideas for my life, to fully embrace His. Because God has different plans, and they are always better than whatever I could imagine.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
God saw a ministry in Franklin, Tennessee, that somehow needed exactly what I’d learned while running our small business. God saw schools where our kids could thrive, and a church that would make us come alive in ways we never imagined. Each step of the way, God has revealed His will for my life, and my family’s life. And He continues to do so.
Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
Trusting God, and really believing that his intent is to bless me (and you) and to love me (and you) UNFAILINGLY, is what transforms daily work into an offering to Him. It makes it, not about my talents and effort, but about showing up, saying “Here I am,” and allowing Him to use my life that day, however He sees fit.