Have you ever broken a wild horse into submission? Monty Roberts has; thousands of them. Maybe you know of him by his other name: “horse whisperer”.
Monty hung out with his horse-breaking father and watched his dad terrorise wild mustangs into submission. Monty wondered if there was another way and so he headed into the countryside to watch the wild horses in their natural habitat. He noticed that as a new horse tried to join the herd, the lead mare would challenge the juvenile horse with flat ears and direct eye contact. The younger horse would adopt a submissive position of pawing the ground and bowing. Then the lead mare would turn to the side, lift her ears and expose her flank—a vulnerable part of the body—inviting him closer. The young horse would then come closer. This would continue back and forth until the two horses touched and the young horse entered the herd.
Are you someone who values relationships, likes to get alongside people, support them, listen and care? You are an invitational kind of person. Or maybe you love helping people see where they could grow, encourage them to try new things, and believe people have so much untapped potential. You are a challenge kind of person. The truth is that we won’t grow or change if there is no challenge in our lives. On the other hand, we will not grow or change if there is no love and support either. We need both invitation and challenge. One author has put it this way:
“Let’s consider what Jesus was able to accomplish. In less than three years, he was able to train a group of men, most of whom no one else would have chosen, and taught them to DO and to BE like him in such a way that, when released, they would change the course of human history forever. HOW DID THE CHALLENGE OF WHAT HE WAS ASKING THEM NOT ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELM THEM? Now how was Jesus able to do that in such a way that he didn’t break them and have them all running for the hills? How did the challenge of what he was asking them not absolutely overwhelm them? Simply put, Jesus was the ultimate horse-whisperer…”
Another way of saying this is that God loves us unconditionally and undeservedly; however, God will not leave us where we are and as we are. God sees so much more capacity, possibility and promise in us than we could ever imagine. The Christian message is that though we are sinful, broken and separated from God, God saves us through Jesus coming to die for us and take away our sins and brokenness. This is love. As we trust Jesus and follow him, we can be assured that no one loves us more than God, but also that God will challenge us and call us to become more than we ever imagined. You want comfort and love? God has an infinite reservoir of it. You want to change and grow? God has a dream for your life that will blow your mind!