Confessions of a Wanna Be Cowgirl

​Confession: I have secretly wanted to be a cowgirl almost my entire life.
Fact: I’ve been a city girl my entire life.
I recently came across an old photograph that made me stop and think. The photo quality is not the best, but it is a picture of me around the age of eleven sitting on my grandmother’s horse. What the picture doesn’t show is how nervous I was on top of that horse, and how a couple days later, that same horse bucked me off right in the middle of the pasture. Apparently, pregnant horses are moody.
​I love horses. I love their intelligence, their beauty, and their strength. I’ve tried time and time again to ride horses. I rode trail rides during Girl Scout camp, on the beach during a vacation in Mexico, on my in-law’s farm, and for a season, I took riding lessons. But, I still have not mastered the art of riding, nor have I ever gotten to a point of feeling comfortable on a horse. There is something that flat out intimidates me. It doesn’t help that people say horses can sense nervousness or the fact I hold on tightly with my legs to the horse’s stomach (apparently, this is a signal to go, not stop).
No matter how hard I try, even if I own the boots and the riding gear, I haven’t been able to ride carefree across the fields with the wind whipping through my hair. Some of it has to do with control—I simply feel out of control while riding the horse because well, the horse is in total control. I have a hard time not being in control, and I have a hard time with trying to control.
​The Lord has had me in a city environment my entire life. I have had opportunities to camp here and there and visit rural areas, but I’ve never lived in a rural area. I’ve been a resident of cities of all different sizes from Boston, to Los Angeles, and now, Dallas. Although I tend to enjoy the conveniences of the city, I think I’ve been discontent my whole life in the city. I remember vacationing at the lake in Maine as a young girl thinking how peaceful it was there. As a teenager when things got tough, I always retreated to the mountains. Even today, I have a restlessness to have some land, to plant, cultivate, and have animals. I haven’t quite figured out whether this restlessness is because I am failing to own and embrace all that God has given me or whether God has been preparing my heart for something different all this time.
Beth Moore says it best, “Only God’s chosen task for you will ultimately satisfy.” Am I not satisfied with what I have or am doing because I’m trying to control my situation, or am I not satisfied with where I am because I haven’t yet gotten to the place God has chosen for me? These aren’t easy questions to answer because we battle our flesh all the time. I want a quieter, simpler life while at the same time, there are plenty of people who are also wishing for the big city lights. In the middle, however, there are those who are content exactly where they are. Why? Because they are where they are supposed to be doing exactly what God has asked them to do.
Psalm 84:9–10 says, “Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

The sons of Korah sang this Psalm years after their own fathers’ rebellion. The Korahites were upset with Moses and Aaron. The Korahites were chosen from the whole community of Israel to be near God, serve in the Tabernacle, and stand before the people and minister to them (Numbers 16:9). However, the Korahites weren’t content with that calling; they also wanted the priesthood (Numbers 16:10). Moses told them, “The Lord is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him?” (Numbers 16:11).
These kinds of verses get me All. The. Time.
The Korahites were throwing the kind of temper tantrum I throw in my head (sometimes out loud) when I’m not satisfied in my season, in my geographic location, and in my calling. I’m just thankful God hasn’t responded to my temper tantrums the same way He dealt with the Korahites.
“Meanwhile, Korah had stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron, and they all gathered at the Tabernacle entrance. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to the whole community, and the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Get away from all these people so that I may instantly destroy them!'” (Numbers 16:19–21)
One could read the next few passages and see a god who is not kind to His people, or one can see the great calling upon Moses’ life. Moses interceded for the people of Israel on many occasions in the wilderness. This passage highlights the fact Moses was doing exactly what the Lord had asked him to do, not what Moses was doing on his own.
“And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.’” (Numbers 16:28—30)
The next verse says, “He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them” (Numbers 16:31).
Moses was sure about God, even though he felt inadequate at times and didn’t always do things the right way in his calling. He was also a sojourner moving from place to place. He didn’t know when he would get to where he was going, but he knew he would get there because God had told him he would see “the promised land” (Exodus 3:17).
Getting back to Beth Moore’s quote, “Only God’s chosen task for you will ultimately satisfy.” Godly satisfaction feels and looks different than selfish satisfaction. One day doing exactly what God has called us to do is better than a thousand days doing someone else’s task. For the Korahites, it meant literal death. For us, Beth says, “Craving what God did not choose us to do would mean death for our ministries.” When people are operating in the sweet spot of ministry, it is beautiful. When people thrive in the places God has them, it looks like a puzzle perfectly put together. Personally, I am still pushing through my moments of feeling dissatisfied. I’m thankful to worship a God who allows me the opportunity to sit with Him and talk to Him about the struggles within my heart. Sometimes He directs me to answers within His Word. Sometimes it feels as though the silence is deafening as I wait for Him to respond. What I know without a doubt is He knows my heart is pure and humble in my asking.
One day, He’ll either give me all the courage I need to ride, or remove that desire all together. Until then, I’ll keep moving and doing where He has me, and enjoy the beauty from afar.
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Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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