Put Away The Ranger

In the past few years, I’ve been reading than usual.  I’m a seeker and apparently have had a lot of seeking to do. One of the books I read was Jamie George’s “Love Well.”  (I recommend it!)  Jamie is a pastor (or “Preacher” for those of us from the Church of Christ heritage)  of a local congregation, Journey Church.  Journey Church meets, or used to meet, in a space at The Factory, where my law office was located.  Each year for Christmas, the church distributed baskets filled with homemade goodies and seasonal gifts like candles, holiday music and the like, to all the other tenants of The Factory.  This year, the basket included Jamie’s book, “Love Well.”  I casually picked it up one day and before I knew it, I was on page 92.  Do you ever pick up a book that you feel was written for and directed AT YOU?  Well, that’s how I felt through the whole book.

The book is about changing your life, if you’re struggling with feeling stuck, uninspired and dissatisfied with your current state.  At one point, Jamie talked about a passage from Lord of The Rings, which of course, was right up my alley: The passage is from the point where Elron tracks down Aragorn and tells him it’s time to “man up.”  You see, Aragorn had run away from his familial destiny: being a king.  He joined a group of wandering warriors called “rangers.”  They roamed the land, doing good and keeping the peace.  Not a bad gig, but the problem was that while it wasn’t evil, it wasn’t what Aragorn was born to do.  Moreover, it wasn’t what the world needed.  He wasn’t doing evil, but he was essentially hiding behind a “good” thing, instead of doing the difficult, yet MIGHTY thing he was born to do.

Being a ranger was comfortable, relatively anonymous, and easy for him. Being a king entailed stepping out, facing his weaknesses, facing certain death, and leaping into uncertainty. Elron, however, came to him and in no uncertain words, confronted him and said, “Put aside the ranger. Become who you were born to be.” In other words, “Stop hiding, put on your big boy underwear, and be the KING you are supposed to be.”  OUCH.

If you’ve read the books and/or have seen the movies you know this wasn’t any small feat.  Being a king wasn’t a cushy job.  There were flying fire-breathing dragons, the fellbeast, goblins, orcs, trolls, and scads of hideous creatures of every sort.  Aragorn wasn’t just stepping up on a throne so he could leisurely rule the land.  No, Aragorn was going to have to join with Frodo and the others, unite the lands and fight the seemingly insurmountable armies of PURE EVIL.  Sure, there were other good characters, but nobody but Aragorn could do what needed to be done to save Middle Earth.

I just can’t get that line of out of my head.  “…put aside the ranger….become who you were meant to be.” I need to do that.

In his book “Good To Great,” Jim Collins says that “Good is the enemy of Great.”  That quote is also attributed to Voltaire.  Regardless of who said it, it’s true.  That line, too, I cannot get out of my head.

I’m sure this is true for so many of us.  We do what is comfortable, what is expected, what is acceptable, what is ….”good” instead of perhaps being who or what we were meant to be: GREAT.  We don’t show who we are.  We live in fear.  We don’t step out.  We don’t challenge.  We don’t show our true selves.  We don’t question or push back or give our opinion.  We settle for good enough. We settle for okay.  We settle for “this is just who I am.”  We make excuses. Most of us do it for so long, we forget that we were ever supposed to be kings anyway.  We are complacent and satisfied being the ranger when we were meant to be kings.  We are satisfied being a pebble when we were meant to be diamonds.  At the end of our day, we justify our actions and say, “well, at least I am a ranger – i’m doing something – I’m doing better than people who do nothing.”  Friend, I don’t want to live like that.  I don’t want to have a “good enough” legacy.  I don’t want to have a “just okay” life.  I don’t want to measure my life as “better than that guy.”  I don’t want to be a forever ranger.  Sure there, are times when we are the ranger.  We might be in a time of personal wandering.  We might be overwhelmed and might need to take a step back. But you cannot stay there.  You were meant for more.  You have more inside you.  You were meant to be a KING.

No matter the cost.  No matter the lack of comfort…No matter the friends we lose or the funny looks we get, we will NEVER regret stepping into OURSELVES, rather than living complacently in a pretend identity.

And no, you can’t sit there and say “Well, I was just meant to sit over here and be nothing.”  We were all meant to be more.  We all have greatness inside of us and we each have something inside us that NOBODY ELSE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD can provide.  Take off your blinders.  Don’t settle for “good enough.”  We need to “put on our big girl/boy panties on” and do the hard stuff in life – we were born to do it.  DON’T STAY A RANGER, FRIEND.  WE WERE MEANT TO BE KINGS!

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