My husband, Kevin, is a team roper. If you have always lived in Oklahoma you probably know what that means, but just in case you haven't I'll explain. It is a rodeo event that is a timed competition. Another roper ropes the horns of a steer and then my husband ropes the heels. You compete against other teams doing the same thing. Whoever has the best time wins. At least that is how it works in theory.
I am not a competitive person. I watch or read a book.
My husband has a favorite saying about ropin'. "You rope as good as the people you rope with." In the ropin' world, that means that if you only go to easy ropins' where there is not much competition you can win, but you won't improve. Any dedicated athlete pushes himself to be better, and then again better. My husband who has been ropin for 30 years could go to an arena with a bunch of 12 years olds every week and win, but there would be no challenge. And it would be a discouragement to the 12 year olds.
In my time with the Lord today I was reminded of that verse. I could see how spending all my time with people can have me feeling pretty good about myself sometimes. It can also be easy to justify my actions comparing myself to other human beings. It is only when I spend time with the One who is perfect that I see myself as I really am. Spending time with the One who is full of compassion, full of mercy and full of love raises the bar for me. I don't just want to take the easy way, I want to take it up a notch. Spending time with Jesus transforms me.
It is the same way with the people we choose to be close too. They can challenge us to be all we can be, or they can encourage us to sink to a new low. My boss, Leslie, and my pastor's wife, Paula, are very intelligent women. They inspire me to gain knowledge. My friend Kerri has the best sense of humor. She inspires me to enjoy my life. My husband is a hard worker. He inspires me to keep going till the job is finished.
I don't want to get to heaven and God ask me why I only went to 'punkin pullin's' (easy ropins). I want to be challenged. I want to use up everything the Lord gave me. I want to be someone who challenges those around her. Lord, let it be so!