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Lessons from the NFR...(part 1/3) ...and a new perspective to take into the new year.

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

Pardon me but I’m about to make pretty bland generalization: Life will give you lots of reasons to be offended.Sometimes you’ll be minding your own business, staying in your own lane then…wahmmmo! Your life becomes momentarily derailed. At least that’s what happened in round 5 in this years NFR….

image © Rodeo Ready do not copy

Wade Sundell, a professional bronc rider entered the grand entry with pomp and circumstance and left with a pop and broken back. He swung a leg over a horse he thought he could count on to gallop a lap of gratitude with his fellow competitors and ironically got bucked off a broke saddle horse.

The irony stings somthin' fierce.

For the first 24 hrs, fellow compadres took a jab at him here and there, jesting things like 'Nothing like a riding bucking horses all year to get tossed off a broke one, if you can’t ride in the grand entry you ain’t no cowboy’. But the joking bowed its head when the report came back he wouldn’t be able to finish the NFR because of a spinal fracture.

Well it's bulls and blood. It's dust and mud ... And they call the thing rodeo.

(as Garth Brooks would say…) Something about this unfolding story kept eating at me after the initial hand-to-mouth shock moment. Why? Because I think we’ve all had something side swipe and consequently sideline us. We’ve all been the victim of offense. When we are in the midst of wading through something bad that happened to us, it can be a lot to go through. Insult and injury you might say.

Real offense, is real threatening. It’s not like receiving a luke-warm coffee order or missing entering a rodeo a day too late. Real offense seems to come with an evil spirit and an agenda to The definition offense states plain and clear: it is something that outrages or attacks you morally or physically.

Have you ever been side-wiped by something and then had people tell you ‘Just get over it and don't take it so personally!’ Many of us have. And just like Wade Sundel, you’ve had others jest and joke with you because well, that’s just rodeo for ya! Little do they know, the thing that ‘didn’t seem like that big a deal’ actually is out to kill you.

I can’t get this picture out of my mind and I feel like it really encompasses the depth of offense. Maybe your mud puddle is 2 inches deep and truly no big deal.

Maybe it is 2 feet deep and you are losing a shoe. Maybe it’s quick sand and you’re sinking. Or maybe its a circumstance that wouldn’t typically kill you, but because of everything you are already burdened by you are legitimately drowning. This picture offers a perspective that deflates the judgement we all have when we watch someone go through mud. We don’t really know until we are in it, and even when we are in it, we don’t really know. Sometimes, the only way out is through. And overcoming adversity always requires endurance. How do I know this? Probably by living to see that the principles in God's word (Romans chapter 5) are true. God encourages us to take heart, and not give up because hopelessness is not the way to fix offense. Endurance is. Romans 5:3-5: we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ESV In my new book, He Carried Me, I give a front row seat to see how God’s love helped me overcome some impossible circumstances. Circumstances that didn’t look but a few inches deep to some, but God knew the weight and depth of. His view and value of us is more substantial than the despair that any offense could ever threaten us with. In my case, it was key that I didn’t try to ‘tough it out’, which is counter cultural to the ‘cowboy up’ lifestyle we try to adhere to. The dire straits that our circumstances present us with should not be artificially numbed and limped through. The complete picture of pain, disappointment and setback needs to be brought before the Lord. Even if He is the only person you admit your humanity to; do it because He’s the only one who will give you the capability to endure through it. Thankfully for both our bronc riding friend, Wade, and myself. We are going to live to tell the goodness of God in the land of the living (even if we feel like the walking dead). There will be proof beyond ourselves that our comeback was made possible in an out-of-this-world way. A way that only points up.And a testimony that proclaims endurance through trial is worth the outcome. So remember what you see might not be the whole picture, and the whole picture might not be the whole experience. Don’t undermine yourself or others if what you are going through is hard. Because is probably is. But you will make it! You won’t let offense rob you with it’s evil agenda to take you out - you will OVERCOME! Do you have evidence of wading through a mud puddle this year? Comment below about the perspective and strategy you will use heading into the new year! Don’t forget to sign up for my new book - it has a few journaling prompts sprinkled through out the pages!

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