By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross
Part 1 — Following your heart or following God?
People outside the industry don’t think of rodeo cowboys or bull riders as being people who dream big but there are song and book titles that play on the phrase, “gold buckle dreams.”
Bull riders dream of making it on tour with the PBR and ropers dream of making the National Finals Rodeo. Many dream about riding just once at Cheyenne or the Calgary Stampede. Some dream of making an association finals in their home states.
For some, dreams come true. I’ve been fortunate enough to know a few young men who have recently seen their dreams come true of getting a place in one of the PBR’s coveted top spots.
At 19 years old, Daylon Swearingen is one of those young men and I had a brief conversation with his mom, Carrie this week about how to be praying for Daylon.
“This has always been Daylon’s dream,” said Carrie.
But along with following dreams comes the idea of following your heart and that’s where the trap can come in for Christians. It understandably sounds good and I’ve seen many cowboys and bull riders talk about it and give advice encouraging it. But the Bible warns us about uncontrolled emotion and it especially warns us about the heart.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
The prophet, Jeremiah, is writing to the Jews who at the time are in exile in Babylon after failing to follow God’s path for them but instead, becoming like the pagan cultures they embraced around them.
But we were made with the same hearts and emotions as the Jews back in this time and can take this warning for ourselves as well. Our heart will deceive us. Following our hearts can lead us into sinful decisions more easily than it can lead us toward fulfilled dreams.
One thing that Carrie asked for prayer was that people would see God in Daylon.
“This is God’s platform, looking forward to seeing His plans!” said Carrie.
Yes! Exactly. They understand while this is a dream come true for Daylon, it is God who orchestrated it and the priority isn’t on the dream, it’s on our heavenly Father who gave that dream and directed the family’s path.
By keeping our focus on God and not our hearts, we can see how our dreams are part of God’s plan.
And if following our hearts isn’t how we chase our gold buckle dreams, then what is? That’s found right here in Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
It’s God that we’re to trust instead of our hearts and in trusting Him, he will direct us where He wants us to go. For Daylon, it is a time with the PBR. For me, it was into full time ministry. For you, it could be anything but when you follow Him, your dreams will follow His path and He will be glorified through all you do.