Months ago, I read through John Eldredge’s Way of the Wild Heart, and was captivated by its visceral portrait of the deep struggles and yearnings that characterize a man’s life and seasons. Some find that Eldredge’s style doesn’t resonate with them, and that’s just fine. But for my part, I think the man is brilliant.
Of particular note was this thought, early in the book: that a man should never see himself as finished, but always be pressing into the things that need finishing. I liked this. Partly because I found it immediately convicting, because I realized at once that over years and years, the fears of man had slowly attained outright dominion in a few corners of my life. Instead of “finishing” in those places, I had shrunken back and avoided them.
Principally, these corners were drinking, dancing, and night life. These environments had long felt unsafe to me, because I thought I had to perform, and this old lie would always arise that I was inadequate for those performances. And so, I realized, I had grown accustomed over the years to refusing invitations and making excuses, and in turn the enemy had gradually succeeded in boxing me inside my own safe places. He had thereby ensured I would be neutralized, removed from the game, excluded from being salt and light in those unfamiliar territories. And, he had me convinced that some of my fears were actually valid.
But they weren’t. And anyway, the Spirit reminded me of what my World Race coach used to say, when someone was going through something hard: “This isn’t about you”. This journey’s ultimate end is NOT my self-esteem and validation … but instead the blessing of my family, or my eventual wife and kids, or my neighbors, my coworkers, or the hundreds or thousands of people that through months and years I’ll get to touch with this same great hope.
So screw the judgment of man, I said two months ago. I took a two-step class and loved it; I drank Irish Car-bombs and Whiskey Sours and imported beer; I went into the pulsating heart of Austin’s night life with my coworkers, and sweated bullets, and danced the night away, and had a wild time. And mostly, it was easy. And I felt more alive. And I didn’t feel threatened. And I was not conquered by those atmospheres, but instead carried Kingdom into them. And I know those fears are being dismantled. And I know He’s the one who’s doing it.
So I contend that a call of Jesus on our lives might be this: that we purposefully follow Him past the margins of our comfort zones, for the sake of building our trust in Him, and surrendering the fears that should no longer entangle us … and ultimately, for reaching those hearts that we may find out there, beyond our own familiar scenery.
My hope is that your boxes will be similarly broken.