I had a conversation with a girlfriend the other day and she was lamenting about her romantic relationship. I told her that it was time for her to “cowboy up” and look at things a little differently. She very confusedly asked me what in the world “cowboy up” meant. She’s from Kentucky and apparently they don’t have many cowboys in Lexington. I explained to her that to “cowboy up” means to suck it up, man up, woman up, and move forward.
This specific conversation came to me later in the night and I had a revelation. I’ve spent the past 15 months not being able to cowboy up in my own life out of fear, weakness, and doubt. I knew that this isn’t who I want to be. I want to be the John Wayne of meandering through this life successfully and I learned a few things that I thought I would share. So, put on your cowboy hats and continue…
1. Life isn’t always fair. We all- every one of us- have those moments of “why me?”. We’ve all been cheated and disappointed by relationships, jobs, churches, illnesses, etc. We are never once in Scripture promised that this is going to be an easy ride. Our success in the ride depends on how we react and process when we are met with challenges. Buck up, cowboys.
2. Bad things happen to good people. At some point in our journey we are all going to be faced with loss. If all we do is focus on the bad, however, that is where we will stay… wallowing in our self-pity. This isn’t a concept I was really familiar with until the loss of my dad last year. I felt very cheated and robbed. I think God understands our sorrow and our crying out to Him. He feels our pain. We are His children and He doesn’t like to see us hurt. Just as I as a mother would open a can of whoop-A on anyone who wrongs my child, I believe that God wants us to sit back and let Him take care of all of the injustices that we face. He has our best interests at heart. We may not be able to clearly see the big picture from where we are sitting in the saddle, but we have to learn to trust that He is the ultimate leader of this crazy cattle drive and He will steer us all in the right direction if we allow Him to.
3. It’s time to start focusing on the positive. Sometimes that can be as simple as being thankful for the fact that we woke up this morning. In the time that you’ve spent reading this someone, somewhere in this world has experienced the loss of a loved one. We wake up, shower, eat our Cheerios, grab backpacks, and head out the door. Someone woke up today to the realization that a loved one is gone. Be thankful and grateful for what you have regardless of how trivial and mundane it may seem to you at the moment. There are people who would be happy to wake up to “normal” and “routine”. You don’t really grasp this concept until the day you wake up and your “normal” and “routine” is stripped from you. Trust me.
4. Rock bottom does not equal the end. Those days when you feel it literally takes all of your power just to get out of bed you must remember that things do not forever stay in a state of chaos. We all have to muster up the strength to press forward through those times and move ahead. I’ve often thought that I feel so sorry for those humans who chose to maneuver through the landmines of life without having God in the picture. Frankly, I don’t know how they do it. When all of my strength is zapped and I feel I can’t take another step it is beyond comforting to me to have the sweet assurance that He never leaves me and will always see me through those difficult times. How wonderful to be able to crawl up into His lap and just say “I’m weak. I need you.” I’m 42 years old and He has never failed me- not once.
There is no person who has a perfect life. I dare to say that there is no person who has an easy life. Life is what it is. It becomes what we allow it to be. You can choose to let it drag you down or you can cowboy up, dig your spurs in, and move forward. I, for one, chose to dig in those spurs. You can to. The reigns ultimately belong to God, and He’s given us the strength to press on. Grab hold. Dig in. Hold tight and prepare for the ride. In the words of Steven Curtis Chapman, one of my favorite Christian singers, “Saddle up your horses. We’ve got a trail to blaze.”
Giddy up, pardners!