My ability won’t take me very far
My fragility is a testimony of Who you are.
-“Jar of Clay” Aaron Tate/Caedmon’s Call
When it comes down to it, there’s little we can do by ourselves.
When it comes down to it, we can get a lots done working with others.
But the only way eternal differences are made are when we work with God and allow Him to mold us.
Doing What You Were Born to Do
This morning I sprayed herbicide around our seedling longleaf pines.
I took “Flapper” our three-legged basset hound with me into the woods.
She immediately ran (as fast as she could) into the swamp and the next two hours resounded with the beautiful music of a baying hound.
(I thought of one of my Skynyrd songs, “Swamp Music.”)
The rabbits in Crooked Bayou Swamp aren’t in much danger from Flapper. One day I watched a swamp rabbit wait patiently for Flap to catch up before sprinting off to continue their game.
This morning, as her baying echoed off the trees, I thought: That dog is doing what she was born to do.
Basset hounds are born to roam, hunt, and trail game. Even scientists don’t fully understand how precise the nose of a hound is. They don’t have to be taught to trail rabbits. It’s what they were born to do.
When Flapper was a young pup, she bounded out of my truck bed as we sped down the road I grew up on. A rabbit had darted across Clayton Iles Road and she couldn’t resist. I thought it’d killed her. (Basset hounds are not the smartest dogs in the kennel.)
She was simply doing what she was born to do.
I recall the first wood duck our beloved yellow lab, Ivory, retrieved. Clint and I stood in flooded timber near Bundick Creek. Ivory crashed into the water, grasped the duck in her mouth, and swam to her master Clint.
I told Clint, “That dog’s doing what she was born to do.”
For the rest of her life, she created joy doing what she was born to do. She had joy in doing it and anyone who watched her tasted her job.
Dogs have much to teach us.
Doing what they were born to do.
I asked myself three questions this morning as I listened and worked:
1. What was I born to do?*
2. Am I doing what I was born to do?
3. What should change so I can do what I was born to do?
I’d like to hear from you on this.
* Another good question: how do I know if something is “what I was born to do?” You’ll do it regardless of pay/recognition. I kept journals for nearly thirty years before I ever had a published book. I am called to write. If I never had another book or article, I’d keep my journals. (I’ve just started Journal 58.)
You’ll do “what you were born to do” with joy. It will pour out of your life with a joy that is evident to others. At times, our joyful work may become laborious, but a few days/weeks away from it will renew that joy.
It will be a “labor of love.” You are compelled to do it. Couldn’t stop if you wanted to.
Here are my three short answers as of now.
1. I was born to encourage. It’s who I am, what I do. It’s my calling.
2. I have honestly tried in each of my careers (teacher/coach, principal, camp manager, author/speaker, husband/father) to be an encourager. I know I can do better and want to grow in this area.
3. I want to eliminate any energy-draining activities and emotions in my life that hinder or block my being an encourager. As DeDe and I seek God’s direction in longer term missions, I don’t know where we’ll be or our assignment, but I know it will involve the work of encouragement.
It’s what this dog was born to do.
Lord, help me do it better.