Keys to a Smooth Course! Step 2 - Rhythm
We’ve discussed how important it is to find an appropriate pace for the course you’re riding. And we’ve discussed how to go about finding that appropriate pace based on the particulars of the course and the challenges it presents. But, even if we start with the correct pace, if we do not maintain that pace throughout the course with a steady rhythm, neither speeding up nor slowing down without a reason, we are back to square one - We will have an inappropriate pace at certain places in the course and lack the confidence needed to negotiate the course appropriately.
We may have a course that requires certain changes in pace to fit the obstacles and the terrain, but these changes must be intentional, and once we’re in the appropriate pace for the course or the particular element of the course, we need to maintain that pace by keeping a steady rhythm.
In life, we cannot be blown here and there by every wind of doctrine (see Ephesians 4:14) - speeding up and slowing down at different places within our arena of circumstances. Some points in the arena of life are scary and we, like our horses, sometimes shoot through the corners speeding up and losing our rhythm. At other places, like near the in-gate, we may want to slow down and leave the arena altogether! But once we have that appropriate pace, it’s essential that we maintain it in a rhythm from the beginning to end of the course and over each and every obstacle along the way. Otherwise we are going to be easy prey for the adversary!
Maintaining our rhythm doesn’t mean that our stride won’t slightly lengthen or shorten in order to meet the jumps at the perfect distance. Rhythm is actually what enables us to lengthen or shorten without losing ground of missing the mark. Rhythm helps both us and our horse have an eye for the distance and not second-guess ourselves as we are approaching a jump.
For example, when we come through the turn and we know we are carrying an appropriate pace, we may not see the distance right away. We’re going to have to “walk by faith and not by sight!”(see 2 Corinthians 5:7) Usually sight will kick in if we have a good pace and we maintain that pace without wavering. If we try to protect the distance, so to speak, by holding back on the pace until we see our spot, our course will not be smooth and will have a quality of slow and go that erodes the flow and polish of a smooth round.
Some horses need a little encouragement to stay on the pace and not progressively get slower or get stuck at certain spots in the ring. Many horses tend to build momentum as they go, and those horses need the help of a calm and steady rider who helps them maintain their pace without speeding up as they go.
If we tend to be the kind of “horse” that builds speed throughout our course we may want to remember the scripture in Isaiah 40:31 that says, “They that wait on YHWH shall renew their strength.” And Philippians 4:6 that reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to YHWH. And the peace of YHWH, which surpasses all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Yahushua Messiah.”
If we tend to be the kind of “horse” that loses our momentum as we go and needs some encouragement to keep up the pace, let us meditate on 2 Corinthians 4:1 & 16: “Therefore, since we do hold and engage in this ministry by the mercy of God (YHWH) [granting us favor, benefits, opportunities, and especially salvation], we do not get discouraged (spiritless and despondent with fear) or become faint with weariness and exhaustion…Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.” (Amplified)
Maintaining the rhythm of our appropriate pace takes a lot of faith! But the rewards are worth resisting the momentary urge to pull on the reins, or throw our upper body at the fence, or run at the distance - any number of tendencies we each have to forget that our times are in YHWH’s hands and instead take matters into our own hands! Let us sit still and centered in our saddle, trusting our great Trainer, and in faith maintaining the pace He has set for us by keeping a steady rhythm. It is all based in perfect love, and perfect love drives out all fear! (1 John 4:18)