Happy Fathers Day to all of us Dads! This year Father’s Day has fallen on the last day of my summer vacation. Summer vacation is always a time of introspection and contemplation for me, and this one is no exception. On this Father’s Day post I wanted to share a belief with Dads that might be either liberating, or devastating depending on where we are in life’s journey and what we have done with our life to date. That belief is:
What you DO is not who you ARE!
Have you ever been in a new social setting like a block party, church function or cocktail party and been asked something like, “So tell me about yourself.” When men are asked this open-ended question our response is almost always to launch into information about our careers. In fact, when we are the ones asking the questions we usually cut right to the chase with “So, what do you do?” It is as though the sum of our existence can be encompassed in a resume!
That, of course, is not true. We are so much more than the litany of our professional accomplishments. So why do we often reduce our existence to this when we describe ourselves? It is because we mistake our work life for the rest of our being. We put so much time and effort into our careers that it can become all-consuming, leaving us disconnected from what should really set our course and drive us. We fail to recognize that what we DO should flow out of who we ARE, not vice-versa.
For me life is really about three things. Faith, Family, and Fulfillment. My career is EXTREMELY important to me and I make no apologies for that. I work long hours and I work hard! I have done so for 36 years now. I have chosen a career in Healthcare Administration because it is fulfilling work where I can live out my faith, and provide for my family. The success I have had in my career has allowed me to change my family tree, assure my children’s higher education, and given me the freedom to spend the rest of my life doing anything I want to do. My career is only important to me because it allows me to connect with those greater purposes.
There have been points in my career where I have had to sacrifice time with family. There have been seasons where there were not enough hours in the day or gas in my emotional tank to also serve my church and my community, but those were only short seasons. If we fathers allow our careers to always dominate our calendars we will fail to connect to the reasons we work in the first place and we will be left with shallow, purposeless lives. We must guard against that, Dads. Our families, communities, future generations, and even eternity need us to be what we are created to be. We have to connect what we do with who we are, or better yet, who we want to be!
So, as you look at your life, how much of it can you connect to the greater purposes you have identified for you? If it is not enough, change your calendar. You still have time. Take charge of YOUR time and use it to fulfill YOUR purpose.
For some of us, we may not be sure of our true purpose. If that is the case we cannot waste another day grinding away trying to win at the game before us. Instead, we need to connect with the One who made us and find our purpose! What a sad thing it would be to find ourselves at the top of our game, only to find out we have been playing the wrong game all the while.
Even if that is the case, know that nothing surprises the maker of the universe. He has a purpose for all of us from this day forward and He wants to reveal that plan to us. Living out that plan requires us to BE first, then DO. So, WHO ARE YOU? Maybe more importantly, WHO WILL YOU BE?