Bridled Only By Love

blog love love others unbridled love Apr 12, 2023

Blog by Gem Fadling

I’ve been enjoying a prayer book by J. Philip Newell titled Celtic Benediction. It’s a week’s worth of daily prayers that are based on scripture and poetry. There is such a lovely connection to the soul and to nature within its pages, and I find it quite nourishing.


A beautiful phrase in one of the prayers really struck my heart, and I’d like to share it with you today.


“Release in me the freedom of your spirit

that I may be bridled by nothing but love

that I may be bridled only by love.”


I was moved by the word “bridled.” Many of you have either read or heard me talk about owning a horse when I was a young girl. She was a retired parade palomino named Lady. She was tall, blonde, and beautiful. I would climb our fence, call her name, and she would come trotting over. I’d climb on bareback, grab her mane, gently kick her sides, and we’d be off. I had four acres to walk, trot, and gallop to my heart’s content.


And, yes, I owned the parade bridle and saddle. They were black leather with large silver studs covering their entire surface. It was rare that I used the saddle, but every once in a while I would use the bridle. My dad would help me fit the bit into Lady’s mouth, and he taught me to pull gently right to turn right and gently left to turn left. This was the signal for Lady to move in the direction I desired to go.


So this memory flashed into my mind as I read that prayer:


“Release in me the freedom of your spirit

that I may be bridled by nothing but love

that I may be bridled only by love.”


In this image, I am the one being bridled. I imagine the bit in my own mouth and God graciously directing me by love, toward love, for love.


May I be bridled by nothing but love.

May I be bridled only by love.


What an incredible thought. What an incredible intention. Can I be directed and guided by love today? What would that look like? What would that feel like?


Let’s remind ourselves what love looks like from the ever-famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. I’m sharing from The Message. As you read, watch for the phrase that really moves you.


Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. 


Now, what if this was my bridle? What if the bit of love was in my mouth and these descriptions provided the direction of my steps throughout each day?


This becomes so much more powerful when we remove the to-do list aspect of it. This is a way to live!


The simplicity of love can help steer you through your day. Allow the grace of God to meet you where you are, to fill you with his love, and to steer your heart, your mind, and your body in the way of love.



Go back and reread the 1 Corinthians passage. Then ponder… 

  • What phrase was most invitational to you?
  • How might you be steered by that dynamic today?


May you be bridled by nothing but love. May you be bridled only by love. Blessings as you make your way...


Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash