Her name’s Sally.

She’s got thick, straight black hair. With her darker skin tones, it’s a beautiful combination. She’s strong with long legs I envy.

Did I say she had four of them?

Sally’s the horse I got to ride Saturday with a group of friends and family as we trailed through mountains. The scenery was beautiful, the day was sunny with occasional cool breezes.

I loved it.

I fell in love with horses when I was six. My goal was to own one of my own. We lived in the Chicago suburbs, so the logic of having one didn’t exist. Riding was an expensive hobby, so my dream never became my reality.

It didn’t keep me from reading everything I could get my hands on about horses. Novels about them, how to ride, the different breeds and their characteristics. I practiced drawing them, watched movies about them.

I knew horses.

So, when the gal leading our little entourage asked who’d had experience, I didn’t think twice. I raised my hand.

I’ve only ridden twice in my life.

She looked me up and down and said, “I’m putting you on Sally. She’s a little ornery and doesn’t like any of the other horses.”

I wanted spunk. Not a horse that was merely moving through the ride, waiting for her oats at the end.

When I mounted, I looked good. Like I knew what I was doing. The gal smiled. “You’ll do fine.”

Sally’s attitude issues emerged quickly. I had to keep her a distance from the other horses because she’d bite or kick them. I knew when she was ready to deal pain because her ears would lie straight back and she’d tremble.

She wanted to go her own way. Didn’t want to follow the crowd. Didn’t want to stay on the path. Kept looking back at me to make sure I was still the burden on her back.

Her disappointment on seeing me there was tangible.

All my reading, all my imagining, didn’t prepare me for what the reality would be. I had knowledge without experience. A perspective not based on actual encounters.

It showed when I got off at the end of the ride. Having gripped her sides with my knees like my life depended on it. Dismounting made me realize there were muscles there I didn’t know I had.

Knowledge doesn’t trump experience. It might give me a leg up (pun intended) but it doesn’t do for me what horseback riding lessons would have done.

This happens constantly today. We think we can do something because of a vague understanding, but there’s been no time invested in the doing. Learning.

Doing is more than the knowing.

It happens with Jesus. Thinking we know enough about Him to dismiss Him as hope for our lives. Relying on doing good things, believing it’s enough to get us to heaven.

Hoping our good outweighs our bad leads to frustration and fear.

Knowing Jesus in a personal relationship makes all the difference. He steps in to help with life challenges. Gives direction, purpose, hope.

All the knowledge in the world can’t equal that experience.

Jesus is the leg up we all need.

4 responses »

  1. Julie Sanders says:

    Ha! Glad you had a great day. But I feel your pain! I think my riding days are behind me… I’ll find other ways to enjoy God’s creation. 🙂

  2. Gayle Carlson says:

    I can’t believe you really told people you had “experience” with horses. This is hilarious!! Love you, Sis.

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