The New Normal

by Jake Hershey on October 7, 2012

I have an addiction.  I’m addicted to trading stuff.  I always have been.  When I was a kid, I’d come home with new stuff all the time and my folks would ask, “Where’d you get that?”  I’d just smile and say, “I traded for it.”  I’m not real sure if it’s a cowboy thing or a lack of funds thing…it might be both…the two often go hand in hand.  My buddy Kevin Weatherby finally talked me into getting on Facebook a while back.  I was reluctant, as I didn’t want or need the world knowing what was going on in my life, or strangers gettin’ in my business, or something else to keep up with.  But, I did it.  And it’s been great.  I’ve gotten in contact with a lot of old friends from the rodeo days, I can stay connected with my family and most importantly…there are groups to trade stuff on!  My facebook time was pretty limited for the first few days until a buddy told me about all of the “cowboy swapping” groups.  He generously added me to all of them and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Recently, I’d been keeping my eye on a saddle up for sale or trade.  After a few days I told the guy selling it that I’d trade him my saddle for it.  He told me he’d just gotten rid of it and then two people contacted me about selling or trading my saddle.  I didn’t really want to get rid of it but like I said, I like trading.  My saddle was a rough out on a Will James tree with a 4” cantle.  A guy offered me a team roping saddle.  I told him I might consider it, but he’d have to throw in some money.  He agreed.  I told him I still wasn’t sure.  That’s when he told me he had another saddle he’d swap.  It was on a Wade tree.  For those of you that don’t know, a Will James and a Wade are about as different as you can get in the cowboy world.  They’re also known as a swell fork and a slick fork.  A lot of cowboys (buckaroos) up north ride slick forks.  Most cowboys in the south ride swell forks.  It’s just a personal preference thing for the most part.  I had a slick fork when I first moved to Texas, but I traded it for a swell fork when I went to team roping a bunch (plus I was tired of all the Texans teasing me about my buckaroo saddle.)  I sure enough liked my swell fork but this guy offered me enough money along with his slick fork that I couldn’t turn it down.  Plus, I like trading.

So I’ve been riding this wade saddle with a big ol’ post horn and bucking rolls for about a week now.  The first day the guy asked me how I liked it and I told him the truth, “I don’t.  It’s not my normal saddle.”  If you remember my post a few weeks ago called The Stink Eye, then you know I’ve been riding a green horse.  A green horse on a totally new saddle isn’t a lot of fun.  But (I’ve had to keep telling myself)….I like trading.  Every day I get more and more used to this slick fork.  It’s starting to become my “new normal”.  Whether I like it or not, I’ve got a new normal saddle.

I see so many people fight change in their life.  We don’t always have a say whether things change or not, but one thing we can all do is instead of looking back longingly at the way things used to be, we can choose to embrace the new normal.  That doesn’t mean you have to choose to settle.  If you don’t like the way things are, keep striving to change them.  But wallowing around in your own self pity dang sure ain’t gonna help things.

Sometimes change is good, sometimes it isn’t.  Sometimes it’s because of choices we’ve made, sometimes it’s out of our control.  I’ve got a very close friend that’s going thru a horrible divorce.  He’d like nothing better than for things to go back to the way they were when everything was good and “normal”.  But he also understands that’s never going to happen.  Instead of wallowing in his own self pity, he’s chosen to get closer to God, to look forward to the future and to embrace his new normal.  My friend didn’t choose the divorce, but he’s embracing his new normal.

If you’re a Christian, every day is part of your new normal.  From the very moment you chose to believe in and ride with Jesus, your life and all that you are has been being transformed into who and what God designed you to be.  Sometimes that can be hard.  It’s tough to not do some of the things you used to do.  Believe me, I know.  But when you start thinking about what used to be normal with a longing eye, remember how much better your life is now because you know Jesus.  Don’t believe the devil’s lies.  Embrace your new normal.  Allow God to keep transforming you into the person he created you to be in the first place.  I guarantee His plan is way better than anything you can imagine.  But to get there, we’ve all got to embrace the new normal we are as Christians.  Change is inevitable.  Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.  Sometimes it’s because of choices we’ve made, sometimes it’s out of our control.

If you’ve made the choice to ride with Jesus, that’s a good change.  Embrace your new normal and don’t look back.  If a bad choice has caused some change in your life, quit feeling sorry for yourself.  Just embrace the new normal and keep striving to improve the situation.

That reminds me, I’ve got a saddle to trade off.

The spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you….; and you will be changed into a different person. 1 Samuel 10:6


Jake Hershey 10/7/12

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