The following post IS directly related to preparedness – preparedness for your soul, your life, and your happiness. Being aware of the changes that have happened in my life have also made me be able to improve. My journey has just begun….and it is fantastic. Much of what I am going to present is just a small segment of what can be much more eloquently read in the pages of a book called Wild at Heart. I have been meeting with a group of men who have been studying this book and the premise behind it – and we all attend Elevation Church in the Charlotte, NC area.
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Isn’t it amazing how life changes? Sometimes life changes dramatically but it cannot even be seen due to it happening over weeks, months, and years. Sometimes it isn’t even realized until you sit and think back and memories tell the truth – you have changed. Sometimes the change might be for the better, sometimes for the worst, and sometimes a combination of good and bad. These changes effect your relationship with your wife, and your kids. If you are anything like me you may realize these changes have stolen who you once were – and maybe really are.
Do you remember sitting in elementary school? You sat in the classroom where rules were everywhere. Be quiet! Sit down! Don’t touch! Pay attention! Did complying to all of that come natural to you? Me neither. Why? Because you were a boy! Society takes boys and girls and sticks them in a classroom and then expects everyone to act like girls. Yes – I know it may be breaking news but there are fundamental differences between boys and girls yet society says boys must act like girls. Boys act like girls? Not a chance! Want me to prove it? Take a boy and a girl and give them each sticks. The girl will likely go “ewwwww!” and put the stick down while the boy will create an adventure by making the stick a sword and battle dragons, or turn it into a gun and blast the bad guys.
Boys are meant to explore, to run, to jump, to experience adventure and danger. Girls are more “prim and proper” and play with dolls and play dress up. We – as men – are different.
Let’s jump ahead a few years to high school. Remember? You had friends – several close ones likely. You guys would go hang out, talk about girls, maybe what you wanted to do with the rest of your life. You would get together and just flat out have fun. We were guys being guys and it was awesome!!
All the while having fun with your buddy’s you pursued girls. That’s what guys do, right? Dating was an adventure! The mystery of getting to know your girl, wondering what was going to happen, having numerous first experiences – the adrenaline rush was just flat out additive. You ended up meeting one girl – THE girl. You dated and you asked her to marry.
This is when the changes really started. After marriage you and your buddies suddenly stop hanging out so much. Society says that husbands need to be with their wives – not with other men. That could lead to trouble. Another change happens – you kinda let yourself go. You gain a few pounds – after all you have a women and your not out trying to impress anyone anymore. Next you have a kid or twelve. Now your time with the buddies is pretty much non-existent as you have responsibilities with school plays, soccer games, and birthday parties. Your working full time – if not more – to provide for your family. Your life has fundamentally changed in many significant ways in just a few short years.
Life happened. Modern, stereo-typical life took over and brought you far away from what God meant for you. I am in no way suggesting marriage and kids are a negative thing. No way. What I am saying is that society has molded the modern man into something that is unnatural. Modern man is generally passive, dismissive, and anything but the MAN that God meant for us to be. Men have a natural instinct to be adventurous, and to experience danger. They are not meant to be stuffed into a cubical for 8-10 hours every day, go home and sit in front of the TV watching “Dancing with the Stars”, kiss the kids good-nght, and do it all over again the next day.
Does Bob look like he has much adventure in his life?
Truthfully – how many of you live this life? How many work a dead-end job because it provides, and you live a shelter of an existence compared to the man that your wife fell in love with? Remember when you were dating and you would shower, put on fresh, clean clothes, some aftershave – and dazzle your girl with your best “swag” to impress her. Do you still do that for your wife? I didn’t think so.
This has turned into a very long description as to what happens to most men. The thing is it can be reversed. I have seen it happen right in front of me. It is incredible.
How? Well, I am no expert – but I have a few suggestions:
1. Get closer to God. Yes – that is number one as getting closer to God will provide you with a sense of peace, direction, and the knowledge that through any struggle you are not alone.
2. Appreciate your wife….and SHOW IT! So many of us “won” our brides and then failed to continue to be that which she fell in love with. Tell her that you love her – just because. Send her flowers – just because. Leave her a note on the visor of her car – telling her to have a great day. Plan a special “date” by picking her up and taking her out to eat, and maybe a walk in the park (shower, aftershave, and dress up for the occasion – she’s worth it!). Whatever you do – just do something and start today. Show her that you ARE the man she married – and guess what….she just might show you that she is the WOMEN that you married. Would you like that?
3. Be the leader of your house. I know the women reading this might be saying, “Now hold on!” I am talking about setting the example to your wife and your kids. Lead by taking them to church. Lead by doing the right things when it is so easy to do the wrong things. Tired from working all day and you don’t feel like playing with your kids? Consider that some day they will be grown up and you will wish to give anything to go back in time to play with them – just once more. Do what you know you should – not just what is easy.
4. Go on an adventure!!! Experience danger!! This is critically important to get your heart back – the heart of a man. Go play paintball, go mountain bike riding, go off-roading – do something that makes your heart come alive. Whatever it is….schedule it. Plan it. Make it part of your life – on a regular basis.
5. Have other men as friends. Many men nowadays have other males that they know – but are they truly friends? Co-workers might be good to out to lunch with and talk about how the Pittsburgh Steelers are really stinking this year – but do they have your back? Will they answer the phone at 3:00am when your need someone to talk to? Will they drive two hours to come to your aide when your car breaks down? After high school, after marriage – many men disperse into their own little universe and loose that which is truly needed – friends. Find yourself a “brother” – or a band of brothers to spend time with an be just “one of the guys” again.
In my own life over the past 10 months I have discovered two things – God and that I was but a shell of what I once was. I am on a journey to be a man once again – in the eyes of my kids, my wife….and in God’s. I have brought adventure back into my life. I have a group of male friends that are developing into a “band of brothers”. I am trying to show more appreciation and love for my wife and early signs are our relationship is improving.
Lastly – I could care less when others think negatively about my discovering God and the changes I have made. This is MY life – and I am living it MY way.