(Photo Courtesy of Knox, my 4 yr old!)
Recently my two young sons went through a phase of wanting to watch KungFu Panda. As a dad, I struggle to NOT watch such movies with them because at heart, are we not all just a kid sometimes?
In the third movie, Po the Panda, was struggling with his identity. He had been told he had to defeat a mighty warrior, once again, but this time it was going to require that he be at peace with who he truly was. The problem was he could not decide. He seemed to be so many different things and none of them seemed connected. Therefore, when he faced his enemy, all seemed lost because he was confused about his identity.
Eventually, at the last moment possible, it all came into focus. When asked who he was, he responded honestly, saying that was something he was trying to figure out. Was he the son of a Panda, or the son of a Goose (the one who had raised him.) Was he a cook, or a KungFu master. Was he simply Po, or was he the "Dragon Warrior?" What he came to realize was the answer was simply, "Yes!" He was all those things in one place.
I know, you may be thinking I am stretching this one a bit, but this has been a fight I have been wrestling with openly with you for some time. I have asked, Am I a Realtor? Am I an Auctioneer? Am I a Minister of the Gospel? Am I a builder of my Barndominium? Am I a Dad? Am I a Husband? Am I a Farmer? Am I a Shepherd? Those are many hats for one person to wear. Not to mention a friend to many, counselor to some, and in the middle of it all, it just got confusing.
While seeking to figure all this out, I would give my passion to one thing to the detriment of the other. I would be a minister of the Gospel to the detriment to my work. This would lead to a detriment in the bank account which caused stress at home. So I would turn my focus to work, which led to a detriment to my time with The Good Shepherd which led to a detriment to those I sought to encourage to Enjoy The Shepherd. So I would turn my attention to my relationship with my Shepherd and that at times would lead to a detriment to my ability to be with my wife and kids. And while trying to be great at one thing that I am, I was be great at none of them.
Thankfully, I have a patient and kind Shepherd who has allowed me time to realize this inner turmoil with which I struggle. He has allowed me to get stuck in the miry clay in order to calm my frantic pace. He has allowed some areas of life to become nerve racking to break me of my pathetic attempts of doing work for Him vs just being with Him. As I wrestled Him in the pen, not wanting to endure the moments of not being able to breathe as He worked on me, He did as only he could do and brought me to a place to realize the answer to my question of "Who Am I?" (Realtor, Auctioneer, Minister, Dad, Husband, Farmer, Shepherd, Friend, and Counselor) the answer was simply "Yes!"
You see, I am have come to realize that who I am is not what I am doing, but rather, what I am doing is a reflection of who I am. A Connector!
My ministry is a reflection of my desire to connect people with the love of the Good Shepherd as God has shown me the love a shepherd has for his sheep. My Real Estate work is a reflection of my desire to connect people with the place they long to live and be. My Auctioneer work is a reflection of my desire to connect people with their goals and dreams while living out a passion to simply be an auctioneer. My duties as a Father and Husband are a reflection of my desire to connect my wife and kids to the love of their heavenly Husband and Father so they can know they are truly loved by God. My work as a Farmer is a way for me to connect with the heart of The One who loves me through the work we are able to do on the farm. My work as a friend is a reflection of my desire to connect with others in order to help connect them with the Greatest Friend man can ever know. When asked to give counsel, it is a reflection of my desire to lead people to his feet just as that one sheep leads the others back to the shepherd.
All that to say, God is bringing me to a place of finally understanding that nothing I am doing is competing with the passions of my heart, but rather, they are all working together to bring the ultimate passion of my life into one single focus, to Know God and be Known By Him. Each and every area of my life has been designed by God to reveal to me a deeper understanding of who He is, thus allowing me to know Him even more fully than the day before. All that fights within me was never meant to be a war, but rather a road that leads me closer to His heart.
I am excited today as I am starting to finally see hope in it all. I was struggling, thinking Enjoy The Shepherd was in Conflict with Priority One Real Estate and Auction. I was certain both of those entities were in conflict with my desire to be a great husband and father. My passion to help others know God more seemed to conflict with my desire to work to feed my family, and as long as I separated those areas in my life as being competing foes, I could never move forward.
Today, I sense the clouds in my mind are starting to finally roll back and God is revealing even a deeper part of who He is to me in all these areas of life. He is also starting to reveal that each one of these areas are connected in a fine and glorious web which all lend themselves to one Glorious purpose, to be known by God and share His love with others.
Over the next few days and weeks, I would ask you to pray for me as I work with other great men and women to seek Gods direction on how all this is connected for His glory. There is no doubt that He has created me to share his love through the eyes of a shepherd for this season of my life. There is also no doubt He has created me to be the provider for the needs of my family at home. There is also no doubt that He has provided the roads for these to be done and they are not to be at war with one another, but rather working in a single harmony to accomplish His ultimate goal, to Glorify His Great Name.
Thanks for your prayers and I am excited to see where God leads in the next few days, weeks, months and years!
Enjoy The Shepherd!