Along Came a Cowboy.

You shall have no other gods before me; You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. Exodus 20:3-4

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Many years ago, after a difficult, but necessary, break up with a long time boyfriend, I heard this assurance from the Lord: 

“I have something better for you.”

At that, my emotions swooshed from sorrow to an eager scan of the horizon in search of Mr. Something Better for Me.

Despite the Lord’s goodness in rescuing me from sure and certain heartache with boyfriend #1, the pursuit of the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33a) wasn’t on my agenda.

In the space of a few months — and to my delight — Bob, a young cowboy, entered stage right. (I’ve changed his name to protect the jerk, er, innocent)

Cowboy Bob was awful cute, lean, with enigmatic crystal blue eyes that changed to an endearing hazel when touched by sunlight.

He loved country music and could sing, too. A resident of Texas at the time, I’d been properly schooled in asking one whose head is crowned by a Stetson and whose feet are wrapped in weather-hardy, western boots… “Are you a real cowboy?”

He was. And he loved to country western dance. He even gave lip service to a belief in God, adding a necessary element to his all-together dreamy portfolio.

One evening, this romantically inclined cowboy arrived at my front door, dressed in denim, a bandana about his neck, guitar slung over his shoulder.

And serenaded me.

Are you lonesome tonight?…

Yes!

Do you miss me tonight?

Be still my heart!

He continued, his enigmatic gaze fixed on mine…

Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?

Funny you should sing that, Bob. 

Having acted in obedience to God’s direction to end the relationship with bad boyfriend #1, I’d side-stepped seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33a) and feverishly sought to add things to my life on my own.

Heart rife with idolatry, I’d drawn from my own limited resources.

No where in my house will you find anything the likes of a totem pole. There are no objects I bow down to in search of power or answers. Not even the refrigerator.

But even now, married to the true Mr. Right, my heart still isn’t free from idolatry.

Just how does a girl get her husband to be, well, God? Hmmm.

Insidious thing, idolatry lurks in the space of my heart in places not-yet-surrendered to God.

When Cowboy Bob lured me with heady romanticism, I falsely assumed this was God’s ready and wonderful provision, a just reward for my obedience…though I never paused my pursuit in order to seek God first on the matter.

If I had, I believe He would have made it clear: 

Cowboy Bob. Is. Not. Something. Better.

After only a few months together, Cowboy Bob sauntered off into the sunset without explanation, leaving me far more lonesome than before he strolled in.

We’ve never spoken since.

God’s purpose for my encounter with Cowboy Bob was a test.

“Do you love Me? Do you trust Me to bring you Mr. Right in My perfect time? And until then, am I your first love?”

I failed the test.

God is a jealous god. Fiercely jealous.

He created me. He knows what I need. When I seek Him and His kingdom above all else, He gives me more than I can imagine.

And He made good on His ‘something better for you’ promise when my heart was ready to receive.

My Mr. Right, now father of our four children, owns a Stetson alright, but looks nothing like a cowboy and can’t carry a tune in a bucket. 🙂

God’s perfect match.

How have you sought other things before God’s very best?

4 Comments

  1. Jerusha Agen says:

    Great post, Mary! Love your point about idolatry. It can take so many forms that we so often don’t recognize in our lives. But it’s so pervasive and controlling, interfering with our lives and, more importantly, our relationship with our God. Thanks for this encouragement and conviction today!

  2. Cheryll Snow says:

    I love this! It gave me a different perspective of idolatry. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Mary Felkins says:

      So glad you benefitted from it, Cheryll. Idolatry is an an-going challenge. I’m seeking things all the time they just aren’t always God’s very best.

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