Riding Lessons: How To Tame Your Emotions

Recently, I read a book on raising little girls. Why? When I don't even have any of my own yet? If you don’t know my story already, I lost my mom when I was 9 years old after a horrific battle with breast cancer. But in many ways I lost her way before then. I had to grow up fast and missed out on a lot of nurturing and typical things that little girls do. So I like to study what’s missing in me and see how I can help other women with similar issues heal. Particularly when it comes to the area of emotions. Emotional trauma opens the door to many unhealthy patterns in life. Body image, self-confidence, and food issues are no exception. Wouldn’t you love to have an Emotional Management 101 course? Maybe I’ll create a formal class one day.

Anyways, back to the book. It’s called Loving The Little Years by Rachel Jankovic. In it, she gave the best analogy about emotions and instilling emotional management in her four little girls. She likened emotions much like beautiful, spirited horses. Except we are the riders. So today I’m going to break it down for you and add my own twist. I pray this speaks to the little girl that lives inside you. Because we all have those days when we still feel like a frustrated little girl that’s worn out from the world and doesn’t understand what she’s feeling. Let’s take some riding lessons together today.

We are women. Complicated, deep, multifaceted, multitasking hormonal beings of beauty. We were designed by God to be this way in order to bring much good into the world. When God created woman from Adam’s rib he said this was good! We are naturally emotional. Likewise, man was created a certain way. Simple creatures that are naturally inclined to be more physical and rough. A man is a man I always say. So just as we groom and help men to control and manage their physical urges, we have to do the same with women and our emotions. Just because we are naturally inclined a certain way doesn’t mean we let that inclination rule us.

Little girls need help sorting through their emotions-not so they can wallow in them but so they can control them. Big girls need help with this too ;)

So keeping with the horse analogy; we were each given our own unique horse when we were born and we will ride it our whole lives. We do this with God as we are not alone on the ride. But sometimes the horse wants to act up. If you’ve ever actually ridden a horse before, you know that some of them spook easy. The horse may all the sudden want to jump a fence, or run down into a yucky place full of spiders to get lost in the dark. The horse may even want to completely take off out of control and buck you off!

A good rider knows what to do when a horse tries to bolt-you pull the reins! Turn the horse’s head! Get back on the path! Do whatever it takes to calm that horse down and get it focused before it bucks you off causing injury or tries to run you into a tree.

As women we must become experienced riders and be on the look out for potential spooks, barriers and other animals that may set your horse off. The horse is not the problem. It’s just a horse. Your emotions are not good or bad. They’re just emotions.

The goal is not to cripple the horse, but equip the rider! We do this by looking ahead and anticipate how certain things may trigger certain emotions and prepare for it. You are on top of the horse. You hold the reigns and you control where it goes. From your view you can see things that your horse cannot. It’s the same with your emotions.

On another note, we have to nourish our horse through proper care and maintenance. A tired horse is going to act up! It will shut down. As will one that’s been abused and malnourished. As will one that’s been stubborn and spoiled it’s whole life. Your horse needs love, good food, and plenty of time to roam around in a valley with other horses. It needs the right amount of discipline and someone to brush it’s mane ;) Let's stop beating the horse up for doing certain things but retrain the root that started the whole thing. Think about that the next time something simple causes a melt down in you. What's the real root of this? 

Nourish your soul. Feed your emotions with life giving things. Take care of yourself and let God in to heal the places that were hurt and abused. It’s not easy to tame a wild horse or to rehab one that was on the brink of death. But anything is possible with HIM.

God has given you this beautiful, spirited, and passionate horse. It’s yours. You own it and you can control it if you want to. Practice riding lessons from this mindset today.


Lindsey Nadler