Cowboy Up

{Photo Credit: Luke Asper Pictured: Victoria Chapman}
{Photo Credit: Luke Asper | Pictured: Victoria Chapman}

Have you ever seen “8 Seconds?” Depending on your answer, my church offers freedom ministry classes if you should need them. This movie is the story (by Hollywood standards) of Lane Frost – the most famous bull rider of all time. The ending is tragic in the movie, as well in real life. Lane’s life was cut too short by the fate of the risk every bull rider faces each and every time they mount themselves on those fierce animals.

I’ve watched that movie more times than I can count, and every single time whenever this one scene plays, I get chills. You see since I have seen the movie so many times, I know the ending. But this one scene where one of his best friends is telling him to not give up, I think – well if he would have quit, maybe he would still be alive? If he wouldn’t have gotten back on the bull, and just took care of his ranch and lived a simple life – maybe he would still be alive? But we all know there are many what if’s, but only one reality.

Maybe you are where Lane was at that critical point in his life. Maybe your injury, your circumstance, your relationships, your _______ (you fill in the blank), is too much that you are thinking about throwing in the towel to the dream, passion, or promise God has given you. And you know what friend, you are not alone. Because I’ve been there – more times than many would ever know – or some, would even like to know. And I’m going to say what every young, woman in leadership, pending ministry life isn’t supposed to say: I’ve wanted to give up.

You see, life is hard. And you know I have griped, complained, cursed, cried so hard I burst blood vessels pleading with God on the ‘why’s‘ of the woes of my life – and every single time I feel as if He gives me a similar talk that Tuff gave Lane (with less vulgarity – sorry about that.)

Cowboy up isn’t the exact words, no they come more softly, but yet with so much power.

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
    or, whine, Israel, saying,
God has lost track of me.
    He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
    He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
    And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
    gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
    young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
    They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
    they walk and don’t lag behind.” Isaiah 40: 27-31 (The Message)

You see, any dream or destiny God has given us isn’t determined by our circumstance – no most of the time, our circumstances are determined by our destiny. God has a plan, and it is so much greater than we could ever realize. But can I be honest with you? Sometimes I don’t feel like waiting on God’s destiny when my circumstances just hurt too dang much.

This past month has been one of the hardest I feel that I have had in awhile. I changed jobs (praise God He provided one immediately, this is a story of provision that I will tell for the rest of my life), but with the change of jobs, came three weeks of no income. Where in those two weeks I had to drive to be with my mom where we thought we were removing the last of her breast cancer – and the news of a needed double mastectomy followed in that week, I returned that weekend to have my phone crash, my tire go flat, having to find grace to give to a person who I didn’t want to (can I get an AMEN), and then on top of that – a promise I had believed for over a year came to final closure where the ending wasn’t fireworks and celebration. You see, we all have stuff. We all have the circumstances of life that just seem to weigh the goodness right out of our days – and frankly, weigh the hope and trusts that something good is on the other side of all this hard.

But that only happens if we let it.

Tomorrow is December 1st. And the beginning of Advent. Advent means, “an arrival of something/someone that has been awaited.” and you know what – I’m claiming that for my life, and I pray this blog gives you the position to do the same for yourself. This blog wasn’t meant as a complain blog – it was meant as a honest look into the life of a daughter of the King of Kings who knows who her Daddy is and truly knows she is called to greater things – but a woman of God who wants to give you a look into the part of her life that isn’t spiritual high’s whilst listening to Bethel on repeat and drinking a double espresso with a foam shaped cross on the top. It’s a blog to bring transparency to the places of our generation that think what the outside looks like is what the inside is feeling. But, my friends – it’s not.

We all fall short and we all stumble, but I give you my heart and my story to bring a strength to our generation that the one before us lacked. Pride is part of the fall of the generation before us. But I stand with you saying that we will not be that generation. We will speak out loud, so that freedom can ring inside each of us.

So today, I tell you that this past month I wanted to give up. And honestly, I think I said it too. My tear-stained pillow case gives the evidence of my nights of crying out to the Lord, pleading with Him to choose someone else for this destiny because the circumstances in my life seemed to big, too hard, and too impossible for me to handle. And then God, ever so gently gave me this word:

“You are viewing this as if YOU are the one to handle it. You are not. You see, I parted seas – I raised the dead to life – don’t you think I can take care of the issues that seem to overwhelm you?”

My friends, wherever you are today – in the middle of a valley or on top of a mountain top season, may you be encouraged that our God gives us the truth and the strength to get through whatever circumstance we are going through so that we may continue towards the destiny He has for us.

And as Elisha told his servant, “Don’t be afraid…those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16)

There are more with us than our circumstances – no matter how big. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Believe me – I’m telling myself the same thing right now.

Cowboy up, friends.

xoxo

jess

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