My name is Jim. I'm a 39 year old husband and father of 2. I'm a youth pastor by trade, but because of my response to the wounds from my past, I abandoned that calling almost 2 years ago. In the 2 years that I've been away from ministry, I've undergone a tireless search for why I just couldn't seem to get things together.
I was familiar with John Eldredge's stuff for some time, saw him at Catalyst, read parts of The Sacred Romance and Wild at Heart. But I wasn't able to grab a hold of it. It was a great idea...for other guys. But something was wrong with me that I couldn't live that life.
Well, when the Platinum Collection of the Boot Camp lectures came out, my wife saw it and suggested we get it. We did. I've been listening to the talks constantly when I'm working. This week, I accepted my new name. I understand that the new name isn't special in itself, that it's been my identity for about 13 years. God told me, almost in an audible voice 13 years ago, but at that point I didn't know what to do with it. I was at an "Acquire the Fire" event and I heard, "Set your face toward". Well, I never really have. And all I ever felt was guilt because I couldn't seem to live up to what God was calling me to do. Thus, I was a total failure. I didn't realize that's who I was!
My dad is a workaholic and I work for the family business. My life has been a constant search for his approval. But as I've been listening to the CD's, you've taught me that my ultimate identity is a son of God. About 2 weeks ago, I embraced that truth. After much prayer and listening to the New Name CD, God showed me how He sees me. I am his, "Set my face toward". This has been an absolutely beautiful process.
He also showed me that while my earthly father hasn't been able to adequately "put his mark on me", God certainly has. I've been part-time preaching at a small church in NE Ohio on the weekends and we've been going through Joshua. It struck me that God's mark of ownership over the Israelites was circumcision. It was something that was at the center of their manhood and their sonship to God. They absolutely knew who they belonged to after they were circumcised. Obviously, it would have been very painful to have this done after you were an adult. But, so is becoming a child of God after you have lived in lies and agreements your whole life, as I have. But the end result is so worth it. The cool thing now is, Romans tells us that our hearts are circumcised. Men and women have the same mark on them that reminds them who their Father is.
I've lived in fear my whole life. Fear of people. Of failure. Of confrontation. Whatever! For the first time, we shot off fireworks this summer. I enrolled my son and I in a karate class. I've begun working on my own jeep (2001 Wrangler Sport-BAH!), I'll be enrolling in courses at our Career Center to learn home repair, this Christmas I'll be purchasing a sidearm and taking a CCW course. All this guy stuff that I've been afraid to do in the past. It's all happening!
In the past, I would have wanted to rush off and start teaching other guys this stuff. And maybe that will happen in the future. But right now, I just want to experience this for myself and with my son. (He's experienced a love for bottle rockets!) I'm understanding the battles that happen on a daily basis now aren't because I'm a horrible person. The enemy is finally truly threatened by me. I am dangerous to the kingdom of darkness as I walk with Jesus and continue to be led by the Holy Spirit. My freshest revelation was that God has actually created me to walk on my own two feet and to let the Spirit guide and counsel me. For some dumb ass reason, I thought I was to just let God carry me and sit and wait for Him to do something. Not so! I went to John 14 yesterday or the day before and read that He is a counselor, not a crutch. I'm going to start making fun of the Footprints poem, because that's not right. He empowers me to walk! He counsels me and leads me and I respond to Him.
I almost don't know what to do with the joy that has overtaken my heart and mind. I even quit apologizing to God for not knowing this stuff. I was living in ignorance my whole life. It wasn't time to "get it", for whatever reason. Now, it is. I totally feared the parable of the talents because I knew I wasn't living that out. Now I am.

- Jim


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