Saturday, June 23, 2012

Falling Off the Bull

Summertime gives me a great chance to finally slow down and think about things. It also gives me the time to come up with sappy analogies. Bear with me here! I'd like to compare our troubles in life to a rodeo. More specifically, bull riding. I apologize in advance to all of those real tried-and-true cowbows out there, my knowledge of the sport is pretty much limited to the stands at the county fair and the movie "8 Seconds." Reguardless, it is the best analogy I can think of to illustrate my point.

Imagine yourself as a rookie bull rider. You have never been on a bull before, but you trust in yourself and your natural ability. As you wait behind the gate, the feeling is indescribable. You feel the adrenaline rush, like you could conquer anything. You feel certain you will be an all-star your very first time. The gate tighten your grip...the bull bursts from the shoot and it is a purely exhilarating experience...for all of half a second. One moment you are on top of the world (and the bull), the next you are flat on your back in a cow pie. You could quit right there. After all, you didn't succeed like you were sure you would. Your coach picks you up (do they have coaches in bull riding? I don't know, but in my story they do) and brushes you off. He gives you directions and guidance as you climb on again. As the gate opens, though, the rush is too much. Everything your coach told you has been lost in the exhilaration of the moment, and before you know it you are reunited with that cow pie. Time and time again, your coach picks you up and gives you guidance and directions, and time and time again you get caught up in the excitement and the visions of your own glory. Before long, frustration sets in and for the life of you, you can't figure out why you try and try but always end up with the same painful results.

Each time you fall, though, your coach is there to pick you up. As he is giving you yet again more guidance, you realize that you have been focusing on entirely the wrong things. Your goal has been the exhilaration and excitment of the moment, and achieving glory for yourself. Finally, you listen to what your coach has been saying all along. You will still fall off the bull from time to time, but your with you coach's guidance the pain of falling becomes much less. By focusing on the guidance of your coach rather than your own exhilaration and glory, you are finally able to achieve that glory. Not because of yourself, but because of He who gives you strength and guidance.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight."
-Proverbs 3:5-6

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