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Seeking out help no sign of weakness

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Our culture - the liberal-leaning one that dominates the messages we see from all directions - tells men to be essentially weak, passive, in touch with their emotions and that they are somehow ''toxic'' because of the traditional ways we define ourselves.

The rodeo and bull riding industry and the ranching and farming industries require men to be tough. Taking care of cattle isn't for the faint of heart.

Getting on the back of a bull or jumping off a horse to grab a steer take physical and mental strength. The image of a cowboy, no matter what form, is not of someone who is emotional.

But there is real strength in getting help when you need it.

You can continue fighting to get that serpentine belt back on your truck until there's no skin on your knuckles or you can ask your buddy to drop by and help.

And there is absolutely nothing weak about seeking professional help when the stress of bankruptcy and a fight with your wife has you feeling worthless.

Suicide is not the answer. It's a quick solution for you and a lifetime of heartache for the ones left behind.

We need to grasp what it really means to be meek.

Our culture suggests the word means being weak and walking away from taking a stand, and while Jesus tells us to always forgive and turn the other cheek, he tells us in Matthew 5:5: ''Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.''

We're asked to be meek, but absolutely do not mistake that for weakness.

Jesus was God on earth with the power to do anything, including the ability to destroy those who would attack or undermine his ministry.

Meekness is often defined as strength under control. That is real strength--being able to control yourself when you have the ability to use your strength and skills in a unchrist-like way.

Later, in Matthew 11:29, Jesus tells us: ''Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.''

He doesn't want us to be burdened. He wants us to let him carry our burdens and find peace in our relationship with him.

Jesus is supposed to be enough, but sometimes the devil's whisper in your ear gets so loud, you can't hear the savior calling to you.

God's word in scripture is supposed to be where we find hope, but sometimes we can understand the words but not bring them to bear fruit in what we're going through.

God is sovereign. He gave us the system of government we have, and while some of us were wired to be cowboys, he grew up other men and women to be health care providers for both our physical and mental health.

Knowing when to ask for help isn't weak: it's strength under control.

(This message was prompted by some recent suicides in the immediate rodeo community that Cowboys of the Cross serves.)

Scott Hilgendorff is the pastor for Cowboys of the Cross, a rodeo/bull riding ministry that leads cowboy church services and has an online presence - CowboysOfTheCross.com - that strives to make disciples among the ranch and rodeo community.