What Is the Roar of Awakening? In my last blog, I told the story about the tiger who grew up thinking he was a goat but who finally discovered he was a tiger. Read the story if you haven't already. Upon his discovery, he let out a huge "roar of awakening."
The roar of awakening is the discovery that we are more than we think we are; we have taken on identities that incorrectly or inadequately express our essential being. And when we arrive at this divinely-inspired realization, we experience a totally different reality that expresses itself in a new kind of personal power, passion, and confidence.
One of My Roars of Awakening
One of my roars of awakening came when a highly respected leader in the church I was pastoring years ago deeply yet firmly affirmed my leadership style and effectiveness. I had just downplayed myself to him, making an observation about myself that I had held to be true for years. I had been retelling this narrative to myself every time I encountered a difficult, and potentially conflict-inducing leadership moment.
He stopped me and said, "Greg, I never want to hear you say that about yourself again! Ever!"
"Why?" I pressed back. "I'm just being honest about myself."
"No!" he countered. "You're not! Because it's not true. You're stating an identity that simply has no basis in fact." And then he spent the next five minutes describing all the things he had observed about me in my leadership position which clearly countered my own self-perception.
As he boldly and articulately described what he both saw in and believed about me, the light of truth began to dawn in my mind. I saw it for the first time. He was right. I had been living and believing both an incorrect and inadequate picture of my essential being. I had been living as a goat instead of the tiger I really was.
As I look back now, I can see that that awakening was a watershed moment. My leadership, the owning of my true leadership capabilities emanating from my unique essence, took on a new kind of power and confidence which resulted in profoundly effective outcomes as a spiritual leader and pastor. I had found my "roar."
Obstacles to the Roar: What Is the Narrative You've Been Living?
Have you considered what narratives you've been living in your life that might be incorrect or inadequate? Have you ever taken the time to evaluate the truth about those personal narratives?
We don't only tell inadequate stories about ourselves. We also hold incorrect narratives about others--perhaps our spouses or significant others, our colleagues, our bosses, our friends and family members. The destructive power here is that as we keep retelling these perspectives they grow stronger. They end up seeming truer and truer. So this becomes the reality at the center of our relationships. And we wonder why these relationships can never seem to improve or get better or be fixed.
Painful Consequences of a Wrong Narrative
It is astounding to me how many people are not living their own truth or the truth about others and so have not been able to step into their personal or relational divinely-given power to show up in the world with clarity, confidence, courage, and contentment.
Over the years of living in this unreality, they become satisfied with bleeting like goats instead of roaring like tigers. After awhile, they actually come to believe that they are goats (imagine believing, for example, that you're in a "goat of a relationship" instead of a "tiger of a relationship"--how would that impact how you show up in that relationship?).
Consequently, they never seem to arrive in a place of alignment and congruence with who they really are or what the essence of their relationship truly can be. There's a form of timidity or aggressive conflict they end up manifesting to themselves and to the other. They might not even be aware of it. But there's this subtle hesitancy they often seem to feel in many situations--an inability to really land and be grounded where they are.
In the religious world, we often tend to label this as humility, on the one hand, or righteous indignation, on the other. Truth is, ironically we are actually spiritualizing this sense of inadequacy or conflict by giving it this spiritual attribute in order to feel okay about it.
But it never completely works for us--deep inside we long to be free of this timidity, hesitancy, and sense of personal and relational inadequacy. Without being aware of it at times, we are actually hearing our tiger nature calling out from deep inside us to be embraced.
We cannot allow ourselves to be content with being a goat if our nature is actually a tiger. We must embrace our tiger. Only then will we awaken the roar. Only then will we and our relationships exude a confident, genuinely compassionate presence in the world. And we will be like Jesus, who with a boldness that comes from unconditional acceptance of his truth, loved others shamelessly and tirelessly.
Next time, What does it take to awaken our roar?