Training for the Cross - Blog

Monday, August 23, 2010

Driving Factors

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Photo by Kim Stone
In order to have any hope of getting rid of the resistance that is keeping us from perfection with our horse or with God, we must understand the horse's and our own driving factors. I teach that horses have 3 primary driving factors and 2 underlying factors.

Primary Driving Factors: Self-Preservation, Comfort, Companionship
Underlying Factors: Confidence, Energy

Horses are constantly seeking comfort and companionship. As long as horses are comfortable they are happy, and like any herd animal, horses seek companionship. Whenever they lose confidence in someone or something, self-preservation (fight or flight) kicks in. If they did not have this instinct, predators would have eaten them a long time ago. There are two ways to get rid of your horse's self-preservation; either by increasing their confidence or by decreasing their energy. Self-preservation is engaged when a horse loses confidence, so by increasing the confidence in a person or situation, self-preservation will be reduced.

Energy is the equivalent to motivation and determination, and enhances whatever driving factor the horse is displaying at any given time. When a wild mustang stallion loses confidence in someone or something, they are going to be driven by their self-preservation to fight (strike, kick, bite, etc.). The higher the energy level, the more motivated and determined they will be to fight. A horse that is in good condition and healthy is going to be highly motivated to fight, while a horse that is thin or sick will have little motivation or determination to fight. When a yearling colt loses confidence in someone or something, they are going to rely on their self-preservation for "flight" instead of "fight." They will try to run from danger to seek the comfort and companionship they have with the herd. The higher their energy level (body condition, high energy feeds), the more motivated and determined they will be to run from you and seek comfort and companionship somewhere else. As we decrease their energy, we decrease their expression of self-preservation, which opens the door to increase comfort and companionship when presented in the correct manner.

The same thing is true with us. As long as we have confidence in our own self-preservation or our own ability, we limit God's ability to use us to do a job. The more energy we have pushing our self-preservation, the tougher it is. God does the same thing with us that I do with a horse. I make it tough for them when they are in their self-preservation, and easy when they turn to me for comfort and companionship. As the energy level decreases (confidence in their ability) they find confidence in me and their self-preservation leaves. God does the same thing with us to build confidence in Him. Jesus said, "In me you will have peace, in the world tribulation" (John 16:33). In the Greek, the word "tribulation" can be translated "pressure." To teach my horse to stay out of their self-preservation, I use pressure and relief. God does the same thing with us. In Him is peace. How do we know we are in our self-preservation unless God puts a little pressure on us when we are "in" ourselves?

Let’s identify your driving factors.
What is your primary defense mechanism, fight or flight?
When you lose confidence in a situation, or if someone hurts you, which of these do you do?

1) Get mad and want to verbally or physically hurt the other person; or

2) Run away, want to hide from the danger, seek comfort and companionship with someone, or something safe.

By identifying your self-preservation, you will hopefully learn to identify it and stay out of it. Just like your horse, the longer you spend in your self-preservation, the harder it is to build confidence in the Lord. Confidence (faith) eats self-preservation and self-preservation eats confidence. It is very difficult to offer direction to a horse that is in their self-preservation. Trying to force them to do something will only bring resentment. If we want direction in our life, or to eliminate the resistance in our life, we must learn how to get out of our self-preservation.

Which driving factor is your energy (motivation and determination) currently fueling? Where do you find comfort; thinking about yourself, someone else, or God?

1) Self-Preservation – Primary thoughts throughout the day are consumed with I and me.

2) Companionship – Primary thoughts throughout the day are consumed with someone or something else; employer, co-workers, friends, spouse, kids, parents, etc. Or worldly TV, computer, magazine, radio, etc.

3) God – Primary thoughts throughout the day involve God.

I am not for one second trying to tell you that you should not think of others. A husband should think about his wife, a parent better think about their children, an employee about their employer, and so on.
But, we can serve God and live our life at the same time. By drawing closer to God, we can become a better parent, spouse, friend, employee, etc. By getting out of our self-preservation and learning to seek Him for comfort and companionship, we can find the peace that is "in" Him.

Jesus was in this world, but not of this world; this should be our goal. After spending most of my life trying to learn how to ride in perfection with a horse, I can experience it more regularly now. After working on it with just me and the horse, I can now feel this perfection while I am doing jobs. I have learned how to feel the perfection in a horse that I am riding, while talking to someone standing on the fence and listening to the radio, all at the same time. This is what Jesus had from a heavenly perspective and this is what the early disciples had as well. Jesus was "in" His father while healing the sick, confronting Pharisees, and teaching His disciples all at the same time. Jesus and the disciples had a close and intimate connection with their heavenly Father while doing a job, and this is what He wants for us as well. ".....He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do....." (John 14:12). You may think I am crazy, but the Lord has shown me how we can experience this in our lives. However, just like the horse we don't start out by doing jobs. We start out by finding the perfection, by finding how to stay "in" Him and not falling into our self-preservation. When I try to do a job with a horse with a weak foundation, I often get into wrecks and the same has been true in my life.

In order to have a strong foundation we must get control of our driving factors. Getting control of my driving factors has had an amazing impact on my life, and has had an amazing impact with my horses as well. Controlling the driving factors is the most important thing in having a foundation for perfection and eliminating the resistance with your horse, or in your life.

God Bless,
Wade Black


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