Pack-Mules Run in My Family

I hated unloading the groceries from the car when there were only those big brown paper bags. At best I could carry two in at a time, unless of course they were loaded down with canned goods or 2-liter drinks. Normally, as a kid, I could only carry one in at a time and for a family of 5 that is a lot of trips back and forth to the station wagon.

Once I became a teenager, modern technology invented the infamous plastic shopping bag and my life has not been the same sense. Unloading groceries is a pack mule event. How many bags can I slide up and on to my skinny arms, this is the challenge. Eight? Ten? I get a hold of all these bags and then waddle into the kitchen like a pack mule loaded down with my burden. Of course that is only the first event in my triathlon, the burden waddle. Next is the strength test to see if I can lift my heavy burden up onto the kitchen counter, not easy for us men that are a little more slender in the bicep area, but I gave it my all. Huffing and heaving just enough to get my wife’s attention to let her know that I really am into unloading groceries, not so much that she assumes I am weak and unable to complete the pack mule triathlon. Once the burden is lifted onto the counter then I enter into the seemingly easiest of events: the untangler. The weight of the burden is now on the counter but I must successfully unwind my hands and arms from all the bags without allowing any of the burden to topple onto the floor. Sounds easy but it’s not.

I know this because I’ve been a pack mule before.

God didn’t make me to be a pack mule, God said I’m a sheep.

Sheep don’t carry burdens, mules do.

Jesus said I am the shepherd and you are the sheep. If there is ever a burden to carry the shepherd carries it, not the sheep. We (sheep) are not designed to carry burdens, we were designed to produce. I know that’s easier said than done, because we like to carry burdens. We want to show off to everyone how much we can handle and how many issues we can carry. “Look at me!” we shout, to show off our scheduling balancing act. We are even sometimes apt at carrying it all into church and unloading our burden on the counter/alter of the Lord and say, “okay big guy here ya go.” But the one thing we all too often fail to do is to untangle our hands from the very things that we struggle to carry. The very things that we need to let go of and let Jesus take care of.

You and I were never designed to carry burdens, we are sheep. Prayer unloads the burden onto Him, but then you still have to let go.

You are a sheep, not a mule. Let go. Trust Him.


You Might Not Have What it Takes

Could you be better at what you do? It really doesn’t matter what you do or how you want to fill in the blank, but whatever you do, could you do it better? I think all of us would quickly say, “duh! Of course I could do better.” the problem is the only way to get better most of the time is to see, hear, taste, and experience reality.

We might think we operate in reality, but the truth of the matter is most of the time we think we do the job better than Steve Jobs did, we think we are funnier than Eddie Murphy ever dreamed of being, and of course we are more creative than Michael Angelo, but the reality is, we are not.

So the big choice is really ours, do we keep trudging along in our own little bubbles where we say we know we could do better and be better, yet always believing deep down that we are doing the best we can with what we have been given?

The only way to really get better is to FACE reality. And the only way to face reality is to KNOW reality. And the only way to KNOW reality is to have someone outside your bubble TELL you reality.

In other words honest feedback.

Feedback is the greatest gift we could ever receive from someone. Of course, it will hurt and be painful if we really enjoy being in our bubble, but if we truly want to get better at whatever we do then listening to feedback becomes the greatest reality check, the greatest gift ever. The feedback gift takes a certain type of person to open. It takes a man or woman of deep character and profound desire to achieve greatness. To recognize that they will never be the best in the world, but always wanting to be the best that they can be with the gifts and talents that God has already disposed them to have. It takes a man or woman with true grit that looks at feedback, no matter how real it is, and says, “thank you for the gift.”

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