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Be Still

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

"Be Still" by Elise Margaret Eventing
Photo By @ahorsenamedpretzel

“How has Elise not fallen off yet?” my trainer asked as I zipped around the arena. I was barely hanging onto the most difficult horse in our lesson program. We were jumping cross rails, and he had a cheeky habit of either soaring like a Grand Prix airplane or sliding like a fancy western pony into the base of the jump. There was no in-between. Eventually, we got used to each other, but I look back on those crazy rides and wonder why I wasn’t scared. How was I having so much fun? I had no control.

If my horse did that now, I would be so upset. I have a healthy fear of falling off, but it’s deeper than that. I have a fear of disappointing myself and my horse. I'm scared that I’m not the rider he needs me to be. Not only that, but I’m scared that we can’t accomplish the goals that I’ve set. I’ve turned riding into a stressful experience. It used to be a carefree passion, and it was so easy for me to enjoy the moment. But I put so much pressure on myself to accomplish my goals that I felt like a failure when we weren’t making progress. And so, I avoided riding and threw myself into something that I could control. I piled on as much work as possible to distract myself.

If you asked me what stopped my spiral, the answer would be Jesus. Last year, at the beginning of the year, God told me, “Be Still.” Honestly, I don’t remember how it started, but I do remember asking Him for confirmation. And everywhere I looked, there were the words, “Be Still.” A song here, a conversation there, on the cover of a Bible that I picked up, the theme of our women’s conference. Everything reminded me of what God had already said. And so I did. I quit my job, I stopped overfilling my calendar, and yet I struggled to be still.

I remember asking God what ‘Be Still’ even meant and telling Him that I needed to know what my next step was. And he reminded me of the story of Peter sinking (Matthew 14:22-33). Jesus is walking on the water in a storm, and Peter gets out of the boat to walk to Him. While his eyes are on Jesus, Peter is fine. But as soon as he looks at the storm and his problems and starts trying to figure out his next step, Peter begins to sink. Jesus comes to his rescue and saves him.

"Be Still" by Elise Margaret Eventing
Photo By @ahorsenamedpretzel

I'm a lot like Peter. If my eyes are on Jesus, my feet will not stumble. When I start focusing on myself and my problems, that’s when I get into trouble. My identity is not my goals or the problems that I have overcome. While goals are important, I don’t need to accomplish impressive things to have value. I don’t need to put immense pressure on myself and my horse. I can just enjoy spending time with him.

I am free to live in the moment as a beloved daughter of God. I'm free to be still and know that He is God. I can’t control or change anything. Being fearful or stressed about my circumstances will not change them. I can put as much pressure on myself as I want, but I will never be able to accomplish the incredible things that God has designed me to do in my own strength.

Article submitted by Elise Margaret Eventing

Elise is an Eventer and Photographer in Austin, TX. Roman is an ex-racehorse training to be an eventer.

Follow Elise on Instagram to read her motivational posts:

To schedule a photography session, visit her 



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