There’s just something special about a hunting dog. Their drive and instinct is fascinating. We brought home our Labrador retriever puppy last December. The very first night she was at our house, at only ten weeks old, her instinct was clear. I would lob the tennis ball across the yard and she would run it down, pick it up and drag it back. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face!
It’s amazing to me how they seem to just be born with it. As the weeks progressed I began to notice other instincts reveal themselves. If we were outdoors and a bird flew over she would lock onto it. Like a built-in missile lock system her body would stiffen and her eyes would follow the bird across the sky. I’ve even caught her tracking airplanes. It’s just in her. This drive and instinct is not a product of formal training or behavior modification, it was put there in her DNA. As a young puppy it’s as if she can’t help it. It’s a programmed response, and it’s awesome.
Steven and I were talking one morning about instinct and how our dogs seem to just have it. Labradors were made to retrieve and Pointers were made to point. It’s our job as owners to train them to harness this instinct and apply it in the correct settings so that they can do what they were made to do.
You and I are not that different than our canine hunting companions. We were born with a drive and an instinct. It was in you from the very beginning. There is an instinct in your DNA that elicits a response you may not even have to consciously execute.
We call it passion. There are just certain things you love to do, you are skilled at, and comes easy. You didn’t necessarily ask for these gifts or passions. God put them in your soul. He wired you the way you are because He has set in front of you opportunities that you are custom-fit to take advantage of. His purpose for your life is connected to the passion and instincts that He placed in your heart.
For too many of us we have let the world, our circumstances, our consequences, or our mistakes, tell us that we have to put our passion aside. We’ve let our past redefine our purpose. I’m taking a stand in my life. Not anymore! It’s heartbreaking when you see a beautiful Labrador who isn’t able to exercise their DNA instinct and retrieve because they are never given the opportunity. I think it is just as heartbreaking when I see a man living a life without passion.
If you are reading this and something inside you is saying: “That’s how I feel.” I want to encourage you. You are not beyond the point of a comeback. If you have a burning passion inside of you but aren’t leveraging it in your life, you can change that today.
Here is something simple we must do if we want to unleash our passion, live more purposefully, follow your instinct and find more significance.
Passion without discipline is chaos. Just like a hunting dog needs to be trained, we need to learn how to control our passions. Notice I didn’t say “limit” your passion. Controlling your instinct and limiting it are two different things.
My dog has two different modes. Focused, and unfocused. Normally when she’s in the backyard she doesn’t wear a collar. She runs wild, chasing balls, and playing keep away. She responds to commands, but I can tell she does it begrudgingly. When I put her collar on she flips a switch. She knows it’s time to work. Her focus sharpens and she responds to commands instantly. She retrieves, holds, and waits patiently for the next command. Her instinct is channeled into execution at the highest level. Her collar controls her passion. The collar doesn’t limit her passion, rather it places her energy in the right context.
When you create discipline and structure in your life, you place your energy in the right context. Without discipline we are wild. We chase opportunities with reckless passion. The unfortunate thing is, however, when we chase opportunity without discipline we rarely achieve the highest level of fulfillment we are seeking. We end up exhausted and usually come up short in our pursuit.
When our passion and energy are placed in the right context we are able to achieve more, go further faster and with less exhaustion.
Do you feel like you’ve been running hard after your passions but not getting anywhere? Does it feel like you’re fighting your instinct because you aren’t sure which way to go next?
Do you need to become more disciplined in your journey?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes then it’s time to do something different. You can change your course. It will take work, but you can do it.
What areas of your life need more discipline?
What steps can you take today to start to strengthen your discipline?
Who can hold you accountable?
Make today the beginning of a new pursuit. You are not alone. God wants you to run full speed into your life using your passion and instinct as a map. You are a man who matters. We believe in you.
Listen to our whole discussion here on this week's podcast: