If you want a stable relationship, get a horse

Largo wants a carrotWe laugh at that because it rings true. Sometimes we can feel like the only place to find a “stable” relationship is, well, in a stable. That’s especially true if we’ve been burned relationally more than a few times. We start to yearn for settled, reliable, safe. But stable relationships are few and far between, as much as we may wish that weren’t so.

Here’s the thing: My sister has horses; four of them and she loves them like children. But she will be among the first to tell you, the only thing stable about them is where they live.

They’re beautiful and unpredictable, thrilling and a little – or a lot – dangerous. (Ask her sometime about dislocated shoulders, torn ACLs and loosened teeth.) To watch them run with wild abandon is to be inspired and awed. (Even the old guys.)

I’ve always loved how God calls attention to the horse’s power and beauty in the Old Testament book of Job: “Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?” (Job 39:19)  At the final judgment, we are told Jesus will ride in victory on a majestic white horse (Revelation 19:11). That’s just cool!

Which brings me to this: When we get right down to it, is a “stable” relationship really what we want out of life?

Recently I was going through a workbook/journal I had kept in connection with a book I read about 10 years ago. I came across something I had written then that not only reminded me of where I was at that time, but how far I’ve come. Here it is (don’t laugh):Longing

First of all, I still want all those things, but that phrase “with another person” is the deal breaker. I have since recognized that I already have that kind of love in my relationship with God, the Maker of the universe. He is the only One who will ever love me unconditionally and I am already His top priority. He initiated this relationship with me through Jesus many years ago and accepted me exactly as I was, as soon as I asked Him to in faith. He still does. Daily.

Second, I’m not so invested in “safety” anymore. I still want to be safe, of course, but I don’t want Jesus to be predictable and contained. I want to be awed and humbled by His holiness. I want to be thrilled with joy and reduced to tears at His faithfulness. When I talk to Him, I want to trust our secure connection even when it feels like He’s “playing hard to get”. I want a God I can worship, not explain, and I want to be in love with the One who IS love.

Third, expecting that kind of love from another human being is a recipe for failure and not even fair. (What was I thinking?) No one can live up to that and if I go into any relationship thinking they can meet that standard, I’m going to be disappointed. Then – as I have done so many times in the past – I’m going to give in to despair and check out. I need to remember that and extend grace to people in my life who let me down.

I don’t think that means I wall off my heart and give up; I think it just means I try to love others for who they are and do my best to see them through a different lens. (That’s what Jesus does for me every single day.)

Shady paddockNo, I don’t want a stable relationship. I want a wild, awesome, galloping, unfettered, mane-flowing, transcendent experience with a majestic Jesus. And it’s okay if we sometimes get real quiet and just hang out in a shady paddock together, too.


About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

7 thoughts on “If you want a stable relationship, get a horse”

  1. Perfectly said. I’m going to keep a permanent link to this post so I can remind myself when I get off track looking to be whole in another person! I’ve struggled with the “He-ness” of God, which does not sound trustworthy to me; so I’m working on recognizing and worshipping the “feminine” aspects of God. This makes me feel safer and more able to be vulnerable without losing the wildness. Thinking of the trinity helps me – father, son, and wild womanly spirit! Thanks!

    1. I believe since we are all created in God’s image, then obviously God has the best characteristics of both male and female. It seems when we are in harmony with each other we best reflect and honor God. Pronouns are, to me, just inadequate to describe this idea.

      Thanks, Melanie. Your thoughtful comment seriously just made my day!

  2. Pronouns are a curse 🙂 I had a wonderful experience earlier this summer when I went on a silent retreat and was seriously struggling the God-He thing. I watched a mother & father goose caring for their wobbly gosling. The father stood tall and alert, every ounce of his energy devoted to protecting his family. The mother nestled quietly and lifted her wing, welcoming her little one into warm safety. Both-And; He-She. All. Thanks again!

    1. I love that image – I’m going to remember that! God is described in both ways in the Bible – as a mighty protector and one who shelters us in the shadow of His wings. Both-And. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Three lessons well learned! Thanks for sharing these insights with us. Yes, it is tempting to want to domesticate God; and so make of him a “pet.” We all do, it and we are always tempted to treat other humans in like manner.

    1. I am reminded of the Chronicles of Narnia where Aslan the Lion is referred to as “not safe, but He is good”. I prefer a God that cannot be tamed but can be trusted to be good. That seems wonderful to me. Thanks as always for your insight, Allen!

  4. I think it reveals our limits, that we try boxing God into what we can imagine, when He is so much bigger (and wilder!).
    Taming Him might make us feel safe in the moment, but then He’d be just like us, so the safety net would be gone.
    I really enjoyed this post, Diane!

Your feedback is welcome!