Even as a 45 year old man who’s married with 4 kids and a son-in-law, I still consider my own dad a King. I’ve heard the stories of him as a kid in his own Cowboy stage with his cousin growing up on the farm. As far as the Warrior stage goes, I think I was part of the ensuing enemy attacking him. Now, he’s in his King stage. Even though I could probably beat him in an arm wrestling match, I still believe that he is stronger than me. He’s wiser, more experienced and tends to take a more educated look at issues in life as they arise. That can only come from surviving the Warrior stage and gaining wisdom. I don’t think I’m there just yet.
Reading this book, “The Way of the Wild Heart”, by John Eldredge, has kinda blown my mind. I’ve literally been reading it for months. Not as another box to check so I can throw another book on my shelf. I read a few pages each day and kind of just think about what I read throughout the day. This book is deep, is spot on and is exactly what I’ve been needing to read for my own understanding of myself. When I say, “myself”, I mean as a Christian, father, husband and warrior.
The chapter I’m in now speaks on wounding the king. My own life’s direction has taken me down an interesting path that I wouldn’t change for anything. I haven’t always enjoyed it but it’s helped me to see the other side of many mountains. The “Cowboy” in me has always been eager for an adventure. That developed the “Warrior” in me and prepared me for the warrior stage. Not completely, just enough so I can do warrior things and be able to work thru major obstacles/mountains that have blocked my path. When that huge mountain blocked my path I could either stop, turn around, go around it or conquer it. Because of the cowboy in me, I have always elected to conquer it. Many times it has been a very rough climb but every time it’s been worth the sacrifice and effort. Looking back on all of my life right now, I believe all those experiences, and more to come, have and are preparing me for the “King” stage of my life.
My three older kids are 22, 20 and 17. My youngest is 9. In my 20’s and 30’s I was the destroyer of kingdoms. I attacked and destroyed their kingdoms many times. It’s something I struggle with when I reflect on my life. In recent years we’ve discussed this and I have apologized for being that person. With my 9 year old, I’ve seen that as a chance to help build his own little kingdom, with guidance. With my older kids, I take every opportunity I can to help them, now, in the managing and building of their adult kingdoms.
In this particular chapter John talks about the wounding of the king in their childhood. Things that parents have done and do to children that damage them. It’s interesting to me to read this because since February 2017 I have lived in the realm of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Meaning, I’ve been working with combat veterans and other folks who struggle with PTSD. I have sat for hours and listened to many men and women tell their personal stories with tears in my eyes. Many times reflecting on my own life and childhood and things that happened to me. I can personally attest to what Mr. Eldredge writes about. Especially when it comes to violating the boundaries or sovereign kingdom in the world of a young boy (or girl) and how it affects their lives into adulthood.
The bright side to this is seeing with my own eyes and living the life of choice. It hasn’t been easy and I still struggle as do so many others I’ve been with. For me, my personal choice and walk with Jesus has helped me immensely. Also, my choice to not let the path behind me dictate my heading in front of me. These 3 pages I just read this morning kind of blew my mind. I’ve heard what he wrote and I’ve listened to stories but to read it and see it explained the way John has explained it really cleared the mud from my eyes.
Bottom line? Two things. 1.) There is hope and every mountain is able to be conquered. Often times we just need a guide or guides to help us climb and conquer. 2.) Get this book. If you have or are struggling, especially as a man, this book can answer many questions and help guide you on your quest to be the king of your own kingdom. Don’t ever give up.