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  • Writer's pictureHeather Makowicz

Riding a Wild Horse

Paradise Valley, Montana

“It is for freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1 RSV Catholic Edition

Livingston, Montana…a quaint, peaceful, sparsely populated town. Time seemed to stand still, a distant echo of a simpler life. I imagined the explorers venturing to discover this untapped, beautiful territory, fondly nicknamed, the “Wild West”. I wonder if they were searching for simplicity, renewal, or the freedom to live differently.

It was the summer of 2011 when our family left the hustling, bustling life of the Philadelphia suburbs to experience the Wild West for yet another week! We planned many adventures, such as whitewater rafting, hiking in Yellowstone, relaxing in natural hot springs, and my personal favorite, Western horseback riding.

When we arrived at the stable, we were greeted by these tall, majestic horses, with wind-swept manes. I couldn’t wait to work as a team with my horse as we took to the trails. After a short, instructional period from our trail guide, we fastened our saddles and we were off!

Narrow trails opened up into palatial, vibrant, green, rolling hills. Above us, bright blue skies and the noon-day sun warmed our backs as we trotted along single file. Life didn’t get better than this!

Observing our growing confidence, the guide prompted us to cantor, giving us the freedom to move fast. I loosened the reigns, and rather than transitioning into a cantor, my horse pivoted sharply and I slipped off my saddle, losing my balance. The guide noticed quickly and rushed over to settle both of us. He reminded me about balancing giving the horse slack and a couple of quick, short, forceful pulls to steer. The decisive boundaries are given by the rider to keep them safe.

In Galatians 5, the apostle Paul reminds us that the freedom given to us by Christ is the freedom to choose to love Him and to love others but with parameters. Though this sounds ideal, I admit, this can be a challenge!

Choosing to love another person and to be in any healthy relationship, isn’t necessarily the freedom to take liberties to do whatever we desire, regardless of the consequences. Like Jesus, we are invited to freely choose to lay down our lives for the good of the other person, giving space and grace for good and “holy” growth. The freedom Christ offers leads us to a supernatural peace that we can’t manufacture on our own, a tremendous gift!


1) What is your concept of freedom?

2) How can Paul’s words in Galatians be an opportunity for growth through the freedom Christ offers you?

I would like to end by sharing these inspired words:

“Run wild. To risk everything. To hold nothing back. To lay it all out on the line: your reputation, your success, your comfort. It’s that moment when fear is overcome by faith. Live free. It’s not the liberty to do whatever you want whenever and wherever you want, but rather its living in course with the author of humanity and finding freedom by connecting with the creator who conceived you.

Let the light flood into your eyes for the first time. Feeling the blood course through your veins, finding the truest version of yourself by knowing the one who knows you even better than you know yourself. Love strong. Because you were first loved. Because without love we all perish. Because the earth and the stars can and will pass away, but love, love will always remain.”

By: King & Country, “O God Forgive Us”

Till next time, may God continue to bless you today and always,


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