We want to know what you think! Take the RFTV Survey today! >>

“Get Off Your High Horse” by Rachael Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

“Get Off Your High Horse” by Rachael Flanagan, Fiat Ventures
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

The summer after I graduated from high school, I was a little bit full of myself. I was all set with some great scholarships for college and had my head full of prideful thoughts about my seemingly great accomplishments. As Drum Major of the marching band, I had earned a few awards over the past three years, had played several lead roles in the school plays, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and had 4 years of varsity cross-country under my belt, countless medals and recognition as an All-Conference athlete 2 years in a row.

That summer, to show off my athletic abilities, I signed up to run the annual River Bank Run, a 25K race (15.5 miles) through the winding streets of downtown Grand Rapids, MI. On the coattails of my high school cross-country career, I had been running some 40 miles a week anyway, and I felt like I was in excellent shape. I might have even updated my facebook statuses after every workout, just so everyone I went to school with (especially my star-basketball player neighbor who had rejected me in middle school as a friend because I wasn’t popular enough) would know just how ridiculously fit and crazy athletic I was.

The day of the race came. I made sure I was wearing an extra cute racing spandex outfit and tank top, smeared icy-hot on my legs (because I was totally going to shred it out there) and did my warm up sprints, high knees, etc. I wanted to look good because I knew they recorded the finish line and it would be on TV and online, and my time would be printed in the newspaper, etc. They lined us up based off of our estimated mile time for 15.5 miles (I went with the 8 minute people), and when the gun went off, I shot out with the rest of the pack.

Mile by mile, I focused on how I wanted to show everyone from my high school how far I’d come since I was the loser on the 7th grade basketball team who never scored a point. I was amazing now – Blackbelt-Ninja-25K Runner-Actress-Musician-Extraordinaire… After 7 miles, I realized that my knee was starting to burn with a sharp stinging pain. I ignored it. Mile 11, the pain was getting rather hard to ignore, and by mile 13, it was unbearable. I was forced to walk for 2 whole miles, limping along in anger, but by the last .5, my pride was too great. I had to run it and I had to gut it out so that, even though my time was going down the drain, at least I’d look awesome crossing the finish line on TV (and of course the internet). Fighting through searing pain, I lunged myself forward for half a mile, bravely attempting to hide the limp…the finish line was in sight – so close! I leaned forward and gave it all I had, pumping and gasping until I heard the “beep beep” of the computer recording my time from the microchip attached to my shoe. I had made it. I slowed, and then with a sudden violent lurch of my stomach, I doubled over and threw up on the ground.

Guess what shot they got of me on live TV, that could be played over and over again online? Yeah. I was the Barf-Girl.

But the truth is, no one cared nearly as much about this less-than-spectacular finish than I did. I had built myself so far up in my head, and to see my reality felt like I was crashing right back down to earth.

The gospel today has to do with pride. Jesus warns us to not be too full of ourselves – to get off of our “high horses,” because inevitably “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” He uses the examples of the scribes and the Pharisees, who were highly educated and held the most respected positions in the Jewish world. They were awesome in how they were able to perfectly memorize the Torah and to accomplish all they were able to accomplish without google or “Ask Siri.” But Jesus didn’t care about how crazy smart they were, if they were sitting on their high horses with their fancy tassels, enjoying the pomp and circumstance of their jobs and looking down their noses at the “lesser” people. All he cared about was people doing the will of his Father, and if you’re exalting yourself, you can’t also exalt God. Jesus even says “Do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example.” Meaning, “they know the right answers, but they are failing miserably at actually living it out.”

I wish I had saved myself some embarrassment. I thought I was this athletic-amazing-goddess, but really, I was limping along in my insecurities and “losing my cookies”, if you will, in front of the whole world. Jesus shows us the correct posture in which we should be living our lives: “I have everything to learn. I am not as important as my neighbor. And I cannot do anything except through God.” By admitting that we are weak, God makes us strong.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Connect with Us

See our latest posts on Facebook and Youtube

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply