When I was really young, even before I started kindergarten, my mom had told me that we were going to go ride a horse at a place called Uncle Donald’s Farm. I could not wait! This was back when The Lone Ranger reruns were still on TV; I used to watch that and other cowboy shows. In my mind, I was going to mount a horse, give it a good kick with my heels, and giddy-up on out into the sunset as fast as ol’ Silver could take me. I even dressed the part, because I knew that every good cowboy needed a hat and cap gun in holster.
We got there and I saw the steed (or pony) that was going to be mine to tame and take on an adventure. I couldn’t handle the excitement!
I thought it was nice of the guy to help me get up in the saddle, but wasn’t sure why he was still standing around once I was up. “Thanks, partner, but you can mosey on. I got this.”
But he never did let go of the reigns. I had to sit there and hold onto the saddle while he walked us around at an incredibly slow pace. We didn’t even trot.
I remember sitting there, even that young, and feeling like an idiot. In that moment, I felt like I was overdressed and disrespected. I knew I could ride off without his help; it’s just that I was the only person who knew it.
I’ve had many other times in my life where the same situations have occurred. I’ve shown up, dressed the part, had all the ambition and faith you could have, only to realize that my dreams were not going to become a reality. I can even name some of those moments from the last few months.
It’s never fun to be a disappointed cowboy. It’s never fun when you’ve spent so much time building up your hopes and confidence and all you end up with is something you’d rather not have done in the first place. It makes it hard to have any hope for the next time. It’s hard to have faith. It’s hard to keep trying.
For me, when I feel like I don’t have the strength to keep trying, I have to remember that it doesn’t come down to my own strength.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
I don’t know why God built me the way he did or why my life has played out the way it has. I do know that “I don’t know” is a pretty crummy excuse to give up, though. Why would I give up on me if God hasn’t given up on me?
What do you do when everything you know to do isn’t working? I say you keep doing what you’re doing, because more is probably working than you realize. Maybe you need to do a few things differently. Take some classes. Assess your circumstances and get some advice. But never stop pushing forward. I think you may look back later on and see pieces connected in ways you never could see during it all.
It’s hard to keep getting back on ponies when you want to be riding off on horses. But one day the ponies will grow up and become horses, and hopefully we’ll grow as well.