What Matters

Ending 2014, I had such determination to achieve all my personal goals of things that had to be finished…no more lingering on the lists but checked off complete. New Year’s Eve rolled in and I had sincere confidence that I could do the same in the New Year. After the stroke of midnight, all was well. Bringing in the newness with Marcia and my aunt could not have been more memorable! Then January 2nd arrived and dropped off a package of reality–this year would not be like last year; no, it is new and already I am seeing changes that will likely be more permanent  in the months to come.

Unlike previous years, I entered 2015 with no goals, no words of the year and no book challenge. Maybe this was too extreme, because I am finding my mind just wanders. Not so much wanders but almost fighting time as I see it–part of me sees that I have time now to just live and do things that I want to do while I still can and part of me eyes the reverse that I have so  much to get done that I can’t on my own and I am running out of time.

One of my favorite movies is The Ride. Growing up in a southwest ranch country, the cowboy theme just could not fit any better bonus our town held a rodeo and Stampede every summer!! But that is not why I favorite the movie . . . it is because of Danny O’Neal. The movie starts 0ff at a rodeo. We meet the main man–the famous bull rider, Smokey Banks–as he just competed. Now living a life of failure rides, drinking and gambling mishaps resulting in fights, Smokey is headed to nowhere but trouble. Until that day. He meets Danny, who is an ultimate fan of Smokey Banks.

Mike Stillwell runs a boy’s ranch, where troubled boys are given a second chance; we discover Smokey Banks ending at the ranch after a series of events at the rodeo . . . but it was not the events that landed him at the ranch. He had stolen Mike’s truck in a chase to get his trailer and belongings, taken by the bank. Even beyond that, Danny prayed Smokey would come to the ranch and God answered. Smokey now had his second chance–and a task, teach Danny to ride a bull.

Danny is not a troubled teen; he was sent to the ranch through a trust fund after both his parents died. Danny has cancer, but that never stops him from wanting to ride a bull. At what I consider the climax of the movie, Smokey seeks out Danny in his ranch house room. It was the eve before Danny’s junior bull riding competition and Smokey wanted to present Danny with a belt buckle he had won from his early riding days. Danny said he wanted to win his own and Smokey told him that he believed he would, but to have it anyway.

Then Danny says something so profound, it often comes to mind…especially this past few weeks. In discussing winning, Danny looks at Smokey and says in full confidence: “You see, it is not about how long I am on. But how well I ride.”

Even though Danny is discussing bull riding, I see it in view of my life as well. I should be enjoying the life God has given me, being mindful that it is but a breath. And I should be living out the Spiritual gifts that God has placed in me, leaving the worries of tomorrow in God’s hands. I have to admit–experiencing the decay and knowing the road ahead is not a smooth one, I just want the easier way. If a bull rider wanted the easy way, he should never get on for the ride. The Apostle Paul write to the church at Philippi,

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (3:13-16)

So what matters? God is revealing to me in different ways what should matter most in my life . . . drawing closer to Him–in all things, because He will give me the strength to press on each day. He alone will judge how well I ride.


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10 responses to “What Matters

  1. Sheri tearpak

    Love you, Melinda! Praying for you as you focus on just drawing closer to Him. Hugs!

  2. Kim Jenerette

    A very powerful post to start off 2015 … Mel, I learn so much from you … but what I also learn is how strong you are … I learn, I witness, that to be strong in Christ is to be weak in flesh … while your physical ailments bring this to light, your relationship to Christ … your devotion to scripture teaches me and convicts me …. thank you for loving Christ and for sharing your heart …. I do not take it lightly that you take the time to type this (and I know it takes a lot of time) and the time to share your heart …

    We love you.

    Uncle Kim and Aunt Lisa

  3. Jill Pinkerton

    Thank you Melinda. Deeply moving.

  4. Jeff Subra

    Inspired and humbled by your words today Melinda. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  5. Allison Nickerson

    Melinda, What a beautiful perspective to begin a new year, a new week, and any and every new day. His mercies are new every morning. Thank you for the reminder of the goal we should all be pressing toward. From what I’ve read from your book lists, we have the same taste in books :). I’m now reading “The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom.” She had a stroke and was unable to speak for the last 5 years of her life. Her companion, Pamela Rosewell, wrote the book. It is such a precious account of how a woman lived well for her Savior. Have a good day today! When shall we start baby countdown? Are we guessing weight and length? I’m guessing Baby N is a boy too 🙂 Sir Basho isn’t going to know what’s hit him either!

    • mel

      Oh wow, I never knew that about Corrie Ten Boom. I just put The Story of my Life by Helen Keller in my ereads and aimed to start it this weekend.

      I don’t know about height and weight…I am even bad at guessing my INR. haha, but still guessing a boy!

  6. I love the witness that you share Melinda. The thing that is so precious to me is that you are aware that God is with you always, no matter how hard the journey is that you are taking. I too realize that just sharing this through word is a monumental task for you, but I ask God to let you know how much you affect those who read your written journey – even to the point of drawing them closer to our Lord and Savior. We all go through trials. You are right – it is how we handle them and how well we ride that counts as we hand those trials over to our Lord so He can carry them for us. God has promised to be with us ALWAYS and for that I am thankful too. You are loved and prayed for daily dear sister in Christ!

  7. Jane Thomas

    Thanks so much Melinda. I love you!

  8. Mindy

    Thank you for sharing your heart – very moving blog that really gets us thinking about how we all should be drawing closer to God in the good and bad times. Thank you again!

  9. Kim Decker

    Love your insight. You are an inspiration. Praying for you!

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