To Be A Man…

To Be a Man

 

In a previous writing, Embracing the Momma’s Boy, I briefly alluded to a subject that I would like to address in a bit more detail today… The “balanced” man…

 

To be a man…

 

Society, movies, television, music videos, rap, heavy metal, country music, the preacher, the politician…all paint a different picture of what it is to be “a man” and seeing the drastic differences in what is portrayed, it’s no wonder there is so much confusion on this issue.

 

There is occasionally some balanced examples but for the most part, there is only fragmented examples of what should be… there seems to be an ever missing balance of what it means to be “complete” as a man…

 

I have seen two extremes in the area of the “unbalanced man” The first, based upon what is often exampled to us as the “stereotypical male” is the one who fits into the “tough guy” persona… The “Manly man”, equipped with the rock hard abs and the hair that goes right back into place after the wind quits blowing…right?

 

As men, many of us were raised to view emotion or visible pain as weakness… We were taught to suppress what we felt because to acknowledge it, verbalize it, or God forbid SHOW it, through tears was the ultimate betrayal of the “man code”. Even if you were not taught this at home, it didn’t take you long to learn the code from your peers. The pointed fingers, laughter and put-downs from your elementary aged classmates were a quick teacher on what you did or didn’t do as a “man”…

 

It’s what has been ingrained for generations. “Suck it up”, “Real men don’t cry”, “Don’t be a pansy”, “Sissy’s show emotion”, “Tough guys rule with an iron fist”, “Don’t be a crybaby”… Our grandparents were taught this, they taught our dads, and it’s what many taught us…

 

The other extreme, and on the complete “other side of the scale” is the man who is completely passive or at least “not tough”, often times, perhaps wishing he was the “tough guy” that so many of the other young men seem to be… Doing everything in his power to suppress the emotion that he feels so pointedly makes him “different than the other guys…” and not knowing how to fit in as a man because, like his tough guy counterparts, he doesn’t really understand what it even means to “fit in as a man”…

 

Truth be told, on both sides of the fence, there is this weird, unnatural expectation to hide an aspect of ourselves that, as men, God intended for us to embrace… We embrace one side of our personality while rejecting the other or viewing the other side as a weakness…

 

Let’s forget about personality differences right now… There are certainly aspects of how we are wired that make us different than the next person… It’s that individuality that makes us special. But there are some characteristics of being a man that transcend personality and speak to the nature of who and what we are created to be as men.

 

Reading the bible one day, the words, “David, a man after God’s own heart” stood out to me… I pondered heavily the weight of those words, “After God’s Own Heart”… and after much consideration came to believe that the phrase can mean several things…

 

1. A man who follows after God’s instruction.

2. A man who seeks God and understands the heart of God.

3. A man who embraces the “nature” of who God created man to be…

 

And it’s in the combination of the three that I believe we can actually understand what it means to be a man “After God’s Own Heart”…

 

David was the youngest of his brothers. He was also described as kind of a runt. As a matter of fact, when his father Jesse was instructed to bring his sons in for the prophet Samuel to look at (because God told Samuel that one of Jesse’s sons would be the next king of Israel), Jesse didn’t even consider enough of David to put him in the line up and left him in the field tending the sheep…

 

His brothers were Soldiers! Jocks, Quarterbacks, Wrestlers, Racecar Drivers!

David was the one who cared for the sheep. He wrote poetry. He played the harp and sang. (You know, “tough guy stuff”…) But to everyone’s surprise, (including the prophet, Samuel), God said, “This one is my pick!”… On the surface, I’m sure everyone asked “why”…But time would show that David was more than JUST a shepherd/poet/musician… God understood that there was a balance in David that most men lacked. One that He could use…One that identified with the very “Heart of God”…

 

Most of us know the story. David goes on to kill a giant named Goliath and in the preparation for the battle it is revealed that the Poet/Songwriter/Harp player, could also take care of business when he had to if a Lion or Bear attacked his sheep.

 

Over years of connecting with God on a deep emotional level through worship, music and poetry he had come to develop a faith and understanding of not only “who God was”, but who he was as a child of God! David, the man who embraced his God given emotions while also embracing his God ordained election as a defender and protector, examples to us what it means to be “A man after God’s own heart”…

 

And check this out…David screwed up… A LOT! As a husband, a king, as a father… as A MAN! But still, he is acknowledged as “a man after God’s heart”. There is something to be derived from that.

 

Those of us who naturally lean toward the “Warrior” side of manliness need to explore avenues to better relate with and embrace the emotional side of being a man that God has placed in us…(and I believe that starts with ALLOWING ourselves to feel and show emotion) In order for there to be balance…

 

Those of us who naturally lean toward the “Poet/Harp Player” side of manliness need to explore avenues to better relate with and embrace the protector/defender side of being a man. In order for there to be balance…

 

Interestingly enough either of these characteristics in excess become weaknesses, but within the structure of proper implementation, the balance of the two create wholeness in a man…

 

“Wholeness” will be different for everyone… I’m not sure that a 50/50 man exists based upon how God has uniquely created us…For some, wholeness is a 20/80 implementation, for others it is a 70/30 implementation… However, where we run into problems is when the fraction is 0/70 or 85/0 … In those times we function in a capacity that is less than whole and ultimately less than what God intended for us as men…

 

When I was a young boy, I leaned toward the “emotional” side…I was ridiculed for it and over time grew to hate that side of myself… As I got older I developed the “warrior” side but continued to despise the “momma’s boy” of my youth… I viewed it as a weakness.

 

A few years ago, a friend asked me, “Aaron, why do you hate that side of yourself so much”… He asked me, “who do you think God can use more, the “you” that YOU created, or the “you” that GOD Created”… He was referring to the sensitive “me” that I had all but buried… He then went on to tell me, “Until you embrace that side of yourself and become balanced, you’ll never reach your God ordained potential”…

 

Until that point, I didn’t understand that, the emotional side of “me” was actually a strength… and once those lights came on, I had a complete paradigm shift on what it actually means to be “A Man”… A balanced man… A Whole Man… A man “After God’s Own Heart”…

 

Many of you have struggled with this same question and warred with the same emotions described above… if you haven’t, you’re probably a woman…HA! No, seriously! (I’m not calling any of you men, “Women”…I’m jokingly addressing my female readers…) I believe ALL guys, at some point have had to deal with this on some level and many of us go into adulthood with no resolve on the issue. I believe that the resolve starts with recognizing that there is an area where we have been lacking balance in the “man” department and then taking our concerns about it to God…

 

You know where the balance is lacking in your own life… If you will pursue God wholeheartedly and allow Him to help you strengthen the area where you are weak or to fill the void where you are lacking, He will fill your area of insufficiency and create in you the wholeness that you desire for yourself and ultimately that He destined for you to walk in… I believe that… I’m one who has experienced it first hand…and I’m walking it out daily…Ever learning, Passionately pursuing the destiny that God has placed in me… So Can You!

 

If you can dig it, say “Word!!!”

 

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