Of Bulls and Bullies

Of Bulls and Bullies

I was hot on the pursuit of beauty when he found me.

I’d driven home for a weekend from college and was aching to get out for a woods-walk in the magical mini-grove of crabapples and small trees clustered to the side of the pasture field.

I tossed on a jacket and old boots and arrived at my destination in four minutes flat. In autumn, I searched out eyefuls of day-glow-orange leaves here; in winter, it was bare-branch filigree; spring would bring lacey, glowing-green leaf-tips; and summer, hidden honeysuckle scents and wildflower glory.

I’d been wandering dreamily, greedily drinking in the lovely when he snorted. I looked up and quickly assessed the situation: An angry 2,000-pound black Angus bull stared me full in the face, snorting and hopping up and down.

He was going to charge. And nothing I could do would change that fact.

I gave a second’s thought to making a run for the neighbor’s fence; I’d never make it. He was stronger, faster, and if he were angry now, running would only increase his furious pursuit.

I did the only thing I could think of. I turned to the sapling next to me – which seemed a ridiculously wimpy thing, really — grasped it, closed my eyes, and prayed. A second later, I opened my eyes. The bull had stopped jumping and snorting and began to walk away.

I couldn’t believe it. Really? He was just bluffing?

I proceeded on slow, shaky legs to the fence, scooted under the barbed wire, and walked its line all the way back to a safer spot, where I exited to the gravel road leading back to my parents’ farmhouse.

***

I may be nearly 20 years older now — and while I’ve never had a run-in with an Angus bull again — I’ve seen another kind of bully, many times. He’s the one that doesn’t like it when I’m hot on the pursuitof beauty, especially the holy kind. He snorts and hops up and down on cloven hoofs. And, I run. Oh, so often, I forget and run.

I’m running away when I:

  • Listen when he tells me I’m not good enough and disengage from worthy work in the fear I will fail.
  • Heed when he distracts me with material things and buy into the myth of acquisition = happiness.
  • Nurse a sense of envy and frustration because I don’t have enough and others do – whether it’s time, talent, or resources.

He’s all about making noise and fuss to distract you and me from God’s plan, from His everlasting love and acceptance. The bully sells dissatisfaction. He makes us impatient with God’s kind and gradual guidance along a lifelong journey to fulfillment. He peddles the fable of quick and easy. He hawks his wares: if-it-feels-good-do-it, live-for-today, and do-it-if-it-helps-the-bottom-line.

After all, he sure doesn’t want you to think in terms of the hereafter. {The fine print on his manifesto will burn you. He just hopes you don’t read it.}

I don’t know about you, but the worst part is I often don’t see the bull in the room. {You’ve heard of the elephant in the room, well, I can see him, but I can’t see the huge 2,000-pound lurking bull bully.} When negativity and frustration and envy overtake me, when dark thoughts overshadow the light, I blame myself.

“What’s wrong with me?” “Why can’t I be more easy-going?” “Why do I continually make progress, only to fall back?”

I forget the very real presence of dark. I forget that fallen angel who’s always ready to undermine everything good and pure in our lives to get us on his side.

But we all possess the ability to turn that bull right around and send him back to the barn. Yes, Satan’s a bully, but God’s divine light reigns so brilliant, so powerful, that even the faint portion that resides within our flesh {through the Holy Spirit} is enough to make him quake.

angus bull picmonkey 2

We just need to summon it.

Even a little of the Spirit in you can defeat a lot of Satan in your world. <———Tweet this!

All we need to do is take a quiet moment to reflect {close our eyes}, grab onto our holy reserves, {that slender but pliable sapling}, and pray. God will take care of the rest.

Photo Credit: Crowdive

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