All Hat and No Cowboy

            2nd man preached last night at our church.  His topic was “Being Authentic” or as we say around these part, “keeping it real.”  This topic haunts and plagues me.  I’ve said it before, but people have accused me in the past of not being “real.”  Which totally sends me into a panic of thoughts like, “this is all there is. If this version of real isn’t pleasing you I’m sorry, but that’s all I’ve got.”  The other argument I’ve had (in my head) about this is that sometimes the “real” me is so ugly that I ought not to say those thoughts out loud.  To which 2nd man argued back in his sermon that the goal is for me to get my thought life in line with that which is on the outward so that outward and inward match up (preferably both to the Bible) ala the real Christian.   The whole sermon made me wonder if he was in my head the other day listening in as I was pondering this very topic while I was out weeding the garden?
            Anyway, while he was preaching he used this phrase that just cracked me up and has just stayed with me ever since.  He asked the question, “Are you all hat and no cowboy?”  Pretty catchy isn’t it?  So that led me to thinking about this 5k race coming up Saturday. (Lets face it I haven’t thought about much else lately…at least I’m focused.)  Which lead me to thinking about how I had to run by myself this past Saturday, and, well, it wasn’t that great of a run.
            2nd man was out of town at a men’s retreat and I wanted to impress him, so I headed down to the local YMCA to run their path. (This path is the one where the little rude worker girl told me the race would take place after questioning that I was going to try to run it, to which I just today found out that it’s the wrong path anyway and the race is held on the streets around the area.  But I digress snort snort arghhh.)  Well, I didn’t do very well.  My leg went numb a couple of times and I had to stop and walk.  Then, with only a quarter of a mile left, I came upon a spider the size of my hand (granted I have little hands).  That sent me into some kind of funky dancing and screaming.  It totally spun me out of energy and I had to walk the final part of the lap.  Thankfully, nobody saw me…I hope.
            I’ll be honest; it kind of crushed my confidence.  I’m now scared to death to run this race. Scared of coming in last, or not coming in at all.  Wondering if I’m all hat and no cowboy.  2nd man took me to lunch today to our favorite sandwich shop downtown.  This is how pent up and nervous I’ve become.  After we ordered our sandwiches we were walking to find a booth and I suddenly had a panicked feeling come over me that I’d forgotten to change from my house socks to shoes!  Here I was walking all confidently and suddenly wanted to hide.  I sheepishly looked down to my feet and to my relief; there were my brown sandals.  Whew! 
            After lunch we went to the Y and picked up a brochure showing us the exact route of the run.  2nd man is going to run the route with me tomorrow so I can get this stinkin thinkin out of my head. 
            As for the rest of the “real” me, well, I’m still working on that.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be completely and unapologetically authentic.  If I can silence the critical spirit inside and work on my love, perhaps I can lovingly speak freely.  Until then, I’ll be guarding my words as I work on my heart. There’s definitely room for more cowgirl under this hat.  
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