It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written for the Highline, but I haven’t had much to say. I’ve been in a place of reflection, decision, and contending. The winter here is a place of slowing down in many ways but also where we are are many times working in all areas to get projects done or to progress in our horsemanship. The question of, what am I striving for, has been a thought that has encircled my thoughts the last few weeks. What’s most important and where am I going. There’s been plenty of time to think and reflect, especially between Brenda, Jenna, and I. We all live together in the Davis house and regularly have thoughtful conversations about each other, Jesus, our horsemanship, learning, being good servants and stewards in our jobs, and how we can be our best for the ranch. Generally all of these conversations revolve around our personal growth, pursuit of our relationships with Jesus, and growing in every facet of our lives. Reflecting, deciding, and contending for growth in each of our unique ways and lives is a full-time & active pursuit. Today I’ll talk a little about where I’ve been reflecting, deciding, and contending for my future and the people around me.
Reflection always starts with where am I coming from, what’s gotten better, and then what doesn’t line up with who I’m called to be. I examine everything God’s gifted me with and then take into account the ugly stuff that isn’t working vs the active work of growth towards becoming more Christ like in my walk as a Christian. Sometimes that examination is a not so enjoyable one. The best part about the examining is many times the people around you do it first! Whether you wanted them to or not, but the best people in your life will examine you with an honest lens that calls you to grow in a better direction. Being at this ranch I’m surrounded by a lot of that, people who want you to be your best. At first it isn’t always appreciated because it hurts or is hard to swallow, but if you can quench the pride and self defense, you may be able to discern just what they’re getting at. In that space then without offense or deep hurt you can find your way to making decisions in who you’re going to be. For me this isn’t without prayer, pressing into what the Holy Spirit is speaking over my life, and refocusing to what my ultimate purpose is in life. There I can rise to that challenge of, okay, I need to be better.
I can’t stick my head in the sand or make excuse for why I am the way I am. Shayne called me out the other day in the arena for laughing every time he complimented me when I was riding. I didn’t realize what I was doing or why that was my default response. I didn’t have an answer for him when he point blank asked me why. I had to sit on that conversation for a few days before I could come to a place where I could see what I was struggling with to not be able to receive a compliment. I couldn’t take the compliment as the truth in the moment or receive it completely. I realized that one, it steals joy from the one giving the compliment to not receive it fully and completely. Two I struggle with it, because I carried my own thought of how the ride went at higher value than the teacher who was watching and seeing the progress. I got stuck in my own thought process of gosh, this ride feels like crap, and my horse is running away with me, this is indeed a mess. Whereas Shayne saw something different, he saw progress, me sticking in there, getting a change with my horse, Cat. Despite the ride feeling like a marginal disaster, Shayne saw something different, better. He saw what I couldn’t see. Recognizing when the people around you care enough to see what you can’t see about yourself and your life puts you in a position where you can grow if you choose. The decision is, am I willing to change? Can I make an effort in this case to be a better student and recognize when the teacher sees something that I’m oblivious to, take hold of it, and go forward.
Making decisions about who you are and where you’re going is only the middle step of that pursuit of growth as a person. A willingness to change some of the deepest rooted things is a difficult road. That is where contending for your future comes into play. We can choose a road of complacency and only changing when it’s convenient, but that’s a stagnant life, not the one God made you or me for. We are each so uniquely designed and gifted in different areas and many times we don’t live up to the potential we have due to our current circumstances. Life lived to a full measure, is a life that has to be contended for no matter what the world is throwing at you. I walked away from a different world as my own boss with clients, show horses, etc. to put myself at the bottom of the ‘food chain’ to re-learn how to be a better trainer, broaden my understanding of horsemanship, and refine my riding skillset. I could have stayed in the same industry doing the same things and kept on keeping on. I’m sure that would have been fine. That’s not where I felt God was pushing me to go. There was an urgency of, you’ve prayed to be more, do more, learn more, and be in a place where you can grow, so here it is. Here’s the opportunity to do just that at 32 years old, let’s flip life on its head and do something different. I may have gotten more than I asked for. Being here at the ranch, every ounce of my comfort zone has been busted. I’ve had to learn how to be a student again, rather than the teacher, and admit I really don’t know much. Every step of being here has required contending for my future. Without contending for who I want to be, where I’m going, and what the hope is for it to look like, it will never happen. Giving up here at the ranch isn’t something that exists. Shayne and Des won’t let you. At first I don’t think most of us appreciate that they care that much, to kick you in the pants to either contend for your future or quit and leave. We can all attest that it’s imperfect at times, that we get upset, struggle, maybe get pissed at each other. We’re imperfect people, all of us. What I can say, is that each of us have a capacity to forgive, keep learning, pursue growth, better friendships, and contend for one another. I’m thankful for people who contend for me and I contend for them. We push each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, and are on a journey together. I can only hope that everyone gets to experience a diverse community like that. When you come here, you certainly will.
P.S. Jenna and I decided to be ridiculous at Western Outdoor. I managed to fit in kids size three sparkle boots and enjoyed my new pony, much easier to ride. There’s a funny photo of Jenna too, but I’d rather not die posting it lol.