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Malls, Mexican food, and men. . . September 14, 2008

Posted by Nate in Friends, Personal, Spirituality.
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Who would have thought an afternoon doing some shopping at the Garden State Plaza and topping it off with a great meal at On the Border would yield a conversation about discovering who God wants us to be?

During the course of our dinner chat, my buddy Matt brought up an interesting thought about mankind’s primary relationships. He is first to connect with his Creator, for this is the chief of humanity’s priorities. He is then to connect with the woman, for this is the creation God designed intently and specifically for the man. All other relationships must take backseat.

As he talked about man’s responsibilities and purpose in relationship, my other friend Courtney brought up a frustration that most women have with men: they don’t step up. They’re weak and unwilling to follow their dreams of changing the world for Christ. They’re unwilling to become the men after God’s heart that they were designed to be. They’ve lost the will to be men.

As a group of single twenty-somethings, the natural inclination for us was to discuss how this affects our past and potential relationships. So let me follow that train of thought for a bit.

God designed us as sexual creatures. He placed His image on our lives in many ways, and our connection to each other on the sexual plane is just one of the myriad ways He’s done that.

Think about the idea of God loving the world. He longs to connect with the world, to share His joy with all of Creation. But Creation has not known or seen His love or is unwilling to experience His joy. So He places His Son into the hands of Creation and hopes that Creation accepts His proposal of love.

Parallel that with the man in his love for the woman. He longs to connect with the woman, to share his joy with her. But the woman doesn’t know his love or is unwilling to experience his joy. So he places his heart into the woman’s hands and hopes that she accepts his proposal of love.

Ironically enough, the woman wants more. And she deserves more. Like Courtney said, men have lost their willpower. We know what it means to be a good Christ-follower—trust Jesus and love others. But we’ve forgotten what it means to be a good man.

I know her frustration all too well.

I’ve dreamed big. I’ve longed to serve God with all that I am. I’ve desired to follow in the footsteps of men like King David, King Josiah, the Apostle Peter, and the Apostle Paul. Everything inside me cries out to God to allow me the opportunity to do great things for His Kingdom.

But I’m afraid.

I’m afraid, not because of outside forces or society’s push. I am determined to stand strong against that. I’m afraid, not because my friends may think I’m crazy to attempt such incredible things for a God I can’t even physically see. My friends would support me 100% in such an endeavor.

No, I’m afraid because of myself. I’m afraid because I know my flaws and my failures. I know my sins and my selfishness. I’ve seen myself falter time and time again.

That is why I’m afraid.

I dream to take on the world. I dream of doing great and innovative things for the Kingdom like Scott Harrison at Charity: Water, Tim Lucas at Liquid Church, and Shane Claiborne at The Simple Way have done.

But I’m afraid because I’ve seen where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I’ve been trudging through the mire of lust, barely able to come up for air. I’ve sloshed through the swamps of pride and selfishness, weakened by the downward pull of upward desires.

But worst of all, I’ve suffered through the guilt of my sin, and I’ve been robbed of my dreams. I’m afraid of the evil that I’m capable of.

So to all the “Courtneys” out there—women longing for men who will lead them, boys who are looking for men who will mentor them, and other men searching for strong men who will guide them—I have one request for you: pray for us. Pray not that we’ll come into your lives, because odds are we’re already there. Pray that we’ll overcome our fear of ourselves. Because when we overcome that fear, we’ll finally step up. We’ll become the leaders you want us to be.

Because I, for one, want to dream big again.

But this time, I want my dreams to come true.

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Comments»

1. James Burgmeyer - September 16, 2008

Brother, I hear you. And I too feel your fear. For years I have struggled and fought tooth and nail for ever ounce of manhood that I have, I have more willpower than many and enough courage to face my fears yet it is not enough. I need to continually submit to Christ’s leadership and as a leader be lead by Him but is is so hard and so often I feel confused and disoriented as if i was walking though a fog. I pray that I get there one day but it will not be by my own accord but by grace.

There are so few true men out there (honestly I have had the privilege of knowing some real men but at best there are only a handful) we toss that word “Men” around but it so cheap and easy to say it that it rarely carries any true weight. I think the reason that there are so few men in our culture ( even in the church) is that most guys have no idea of what a man is (as God defines it not as the world does) guys are like blind fools stumbling in a dark alley at midnight unsure of what they are looking for. Go ahead, ask a handful of guys if they can define what a “man” is, they can’t do it because they don’t know how. It’s sad but true. but there is hope, God would not call us to something if he did not have a plan for us. It is not easy and it requires sacrifice and obedience, (not perfection) but when Christ has had His way with us we will shine with the true glory of what we were made to be, men.

if you want to check out a great speaker go to DM.org and search for the talks given by Mark Fodale. he does a great job inspiring guys to be men and shows us how to get there.

2. Amber - September 16, 2008

Thank you so much for acknowledging something that most men are afraid to discuss. I will be praying for you, as well as the men in my life.

Thanks for your comment!

3. Beth - September 19, 2008

Great stuff Jamie & Nate – I’d say the fact that you are even *aware* of your struggle has put you much farther ahead than most men.

And just so you know, the fear is common to women as well – to quote Nate:

“No, I’m afraid because of myself. I’m afraid because I know my flaws and my failures. I know my sins and my selfishness. I’ve seen myself falter time and time again…I’ve suffered through the guilt of my sin, and I’ve been robbed of my dreams. I’m afraid of the evil that I’m capable of.”

Any self-aware person, man or woman, is going to look themselves in the mirror and see these things one day. When faced with my own failures (of which there are many) I continually must ask myself: “Is this the truest thing about me?” And the answer is “No.” Christ’s purchase of my soul has given me the chance to live as He created Woman to be, but it does require daily submission to Him and a steady dose of His Truth. Whether you be a man or a woman, your true identity, and the courage to live in that place comes only from Christ, and only He is strong enough to enable us to dwell there.


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