Day 24: 229 days
Before I moved to New Orleans I was just a guy who was sold out to Jesus. I was on mission, dreaming of impacting the Lord’s Kingdom. My focus was on Christ, and showing Christ to those I was around. I can remember the conversations I would have at work, and the people (okay, person) that I had an impact on. I remember a conversation I had with one of my bosses about not being able to work in certain conditions because I was not able to keep myself from turning into a person I no longer was. Before I moved to New Orleans, I was a barbarian.
While in Florida, there was a couple of times when people tried to “domesticate” me. I was tempted to step out of the unconventional and into the comfortable. I fell slightly and tried to be tamed, but knew it was not the direction I was built to go. When the short season of seeking out the comfortable my good friend and mentor was there to welcome me back. As if he knew that I would return; like he knew the comfortable was not for me. As we talked, he recognized a call on my life and encouraged me to seek after the training to use the gifts I was given for the purpose of my calling. It was then, that I decided to move to New Orleans and go to seminary.
Before I left, my friend and mentor Billy Mitchel sent me with a warning; “Never be tamed.” He saw what Erwin McManus called in his book “The Barbarian Way”, the barbarian in me, or as Billy liked to call it, the “madman.” As a good mentor does, he knew that there would be a stronger temptation to be civilized and domesticated. He knew that there would be a leaning that was showing the comfortable and safe. I wish I would have listened harder, because I was domesticated, I was tamed.
I used to love the zoo. Now, however, when I go to the zoo and see the magnificent animals stuck in their cages, I do not see the “wild” in their eyes. They look downcast and bored. When I see the lion or rhino in their designated areas, I see them with no hope. I look around me and see people staring at them and pointing, yelling and mocking, laughing and joking at them. Sure it is nice to be able to see these awesome creatures that we normally wouldn’t see, but the result is that they are tamed. This is what happened to me.
As I look back at myself over the past few years I can almost trace the line as I grew more and more civilized. When I look back I notice the calming of a warrior’s heart. Looking in the mirror only reveals to me the same thing I see in those domesticated animals. The mirror reveals the tamed heart of a madman. The past couple of days has been spent remembering the heart that I once had. I have looked in the mirror quite a bit in the past two days and can see the barbarian within, just past the mask that I am wearing.
Do not hear me say that I am unappreciative of all that I have learned in seminary, hear me say that I allowed the institution to throw water on the fire. Thanks be to God that there is still some burning coals that only need a little fanning. Thanks be to God for the men in my life that will not allow me to be tamed. Thanks be to the Lord of Hosts that I have been given the heart of a barbarian. Glory to He who is in me, because He has ignited the passion, ripped off the mask, and shown me the barbarian within.
Is it possible that you have been tamed? Can you hear the call to lay down your civilized nature and take on the heart of a madman? Look in the mirror and tell me what you see. Are you a barbarian? I am proud to admit that I am. Follow me, as I follow the heart of my King.
If you haven’t read “The Barbarian Way” by Erwin McManus, I suggest it.