In Healing Through Christ we learn that emotions are always a part of life’s trials. We are also taught the importance of really listening to our feelings as we work through recovery. My horses are currently a big trial in my life. Could listening to my feelings about them make a difference? I was surprised by what I learned as I had the courage to face my emotions and learn the lessons they could teach me. I will list the 5 emotional stages I went through with my horses and what each stage taught me about myself and my relationship with them.
Shock and Denial
The situation really began about 6 weeks ago when my daughter discovered my horses had broken into a back pasture. It was dark and nearly impossible to see the galloping horses as they circled around her. With added help from my husband, my daughter soon had the horses back safely where they belonged. When my family told me later about the incident I was “shocked” the horses had broken through the back fence and certainly in “denial” as I convinced myself the actions of my horses was really no big deal, a problem that could be handled sometime in the future.
Then just 2 weeks ago when my horses started constantly breaking fence lines and going wherever they wanted I got really “angry.” How could they do this to me; I feed and take care of them; I spend tons of money on them? I wanted to get rid of them. It was my horses’ fault I was feeling so angry. In Healing Through Christ we learn that getting angry “doesn’t solve anything…but it can destroy everything.” At the same time anger “can be a voice inside of us that says ‘Enough! Something has to change.’” I began to process my anger by talking about it with friends and writing in my journal. I prayed for guidance from the Lord and He sent help and understanding through a horse trainer that “just happened to move into my church congregation.” As I started to work on the problem it also helped me continue to move through my angry feelings.
Even as I started to take responsibility for my problems I felt deep sadness at the loss of my dream of perfect horses, a beautiful farm and the easy country life I had always imagine. This life was hard and always would be. I felt everything was hopeless and just wanted to give up. But Healing Through Christ tells us to remember “feelings aren’t facts.”
Bargaining is when I think I can bribe my horses into cooperating with me. I have learned there is no reward or special treat I can give my horses that will permanently keep them in fences that aren’t working right. A bribe is only a temporary band-aid until they next time the horses decide to wander through “unhot” fences into better pastures.
Acceptance and Resolution
Finally I accepted the truth of the situation. I could see things as they really were, not what I just hoped them to be. Unlike denial, I see clearly what actions “I, Annette,” needed to take to change things. I reorganized my pasture situation, I bought a new fence charger, cut down the brush under the fence lines, and worked hard to change the things I could. There was a new kind of peace and serenity that grew in my heart as things slowly started to get better. I am happy now as things are changing for the better.
Through this trial with my horses I am learning the lessons my emotions can teach me. The Lord is bringing me to the right solutions as I listen to and process my feelings. As I have gone through the emotional stages I learned how to find peace with all my different feelings, even anger. And I am learning that my emotions are a gift from God if I allow Him to use my feelings to teach me