Courage

I’ve talked to some courageous men lately.

If you do a little Bible homework, you’ll find courage/courageous used more than 50 different ways. It speaks of the wind, the heart, stones, the will, rationality, and boldness to face fear.

What I mean by courage is the bold willingness to face the darkest parts of themselves (and sometimes others). It takes guts (along with a healthy dose of desperation!) to look in the mirror and face the man we are. To compare ourselves to Christ and ask where we fall short, and then invite his correction? Not for the faint of heart.

In this past week I’ve talked to men who have looked rejection, failure, insecurity, loneliness, abuse, addiction, shame, disappointment, a forest-fire-charred family tree and raging wives in the face and stood firm. They’ve held their own pain, and their wives. They’ve held their kids faces and reassured them “daddy isn’t leaving”. They have tossed in the towel and moments later gotten back in the ring for extra rounds, taking Ali style jabs thrown from the sinful flesh of the old, sinful man they are toe-to-toe with.

And in every re-engagement, every surrender to the process, every decision to take their finger off the nuclear button, Jesus is made known. He is glorified. His strength shines through.

If you’re at critical mass reading this, I reassure you there are men fighting the good fight. If you’re dialing in the codes and ready to blow the whole thing up – reconsider. If you’re still in the affair – end it. Porn stash – delete it. Online persona – erase it all. Women’s underwear – throw them away. Inanimate objects – trash them. It doesn’t have to go this way any longer.

 

Dignity

This week while I was on New Life Live Radio the overwhelming theme was dignity. Or, better said, the lack, degradation and thievery there of. I want to spend a few minutes here talking about dignity.

Here’s the definition: the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.

For too many men, we’ve diminished our dignity through our involvement with pornography, prostitution, affairs and other sexual escapades. We’ve jettisoned our own sense of honor and respect. I don’t know about you, but in my addiction I hated seeing myself in the mirror. I just didn’t like the man looking back at me.

Likewise, many wives have diminished their dignity by being willing to accept their husbands’ wanton disregard for them. On radio, we talked with several wives who’ve resigned themselves to marriages fraught with sexual, spiritual, emotional and physical abuse. They’ve mistaken love for license, and in so doing have lost respect and honor for themselves. Many of those wives seemed to believe that they don’t deserve to be treated with honor and respect.

We are all men and women of worth, simply because God handcrafted us in his image. Neither the things we’ve done nor the things done to us have tarnished our true worth and dignity, it only informed our perception of it as rusty and dilapidated. Those things put blinders of shame on us to see ourselves through a foggy, dysfunctional and errant lens.

Part of our (Shelley and I) healing journey has been to recapture our sense of God-given dignity. I had to decide that I’m worth an intimate relationship with another human being, not just relegated to a fraudulent, empty life of sexual fantasy.

I had to decide, through God’s help, that the women I was engaging with, both online and off, were created in His image and, as such, they were women of worth and dignity. My abuse of them was in fact spitting in God’s face and giving him the bird.

Shelley had to decide that she was worth more than lies, secrets and settling for second best. She had to come to the conclusion that what God said about her is more important than what I was saying about her. She also had to decide that her self-respect and the respect of God was more important than anyone else’s respect on the planet.

I hope today you’ll also recapture your sense of dignity. You worthwhile and honorable, deserving of respect simply as a function of God having breathed life into you.

3 things my sons need to hear

3 things.001

We have 3 boys and my middle one, Harrison, turned 4 recently. He is so excitable, energetic, fun, cranky, deliberate and fearless. When I think about what his future holds I’m filled with excitement, speculation, hope, expectation and also some trepidation. I’m scared he’ll end up struggling with the same junk I have. I’m fearful he’ll be unfaithful to his wife, assuming he marries. I’m even more concerned over the self-hate he might have to deal with from the shame of his behavior. So, along with my other 2 boys, I have begun the process of (hopefully) preparing him for the road ahead. Specifically, I’m trying to prepare him to not need porn, sex, etc. as a way to cope with life. Here’s how I’m approaching it…

The issue with using our sexuality sinfully is not a problem with sex. It is not about sex. It’s about what sex (and sexual things from lust and fantasy in the mind to the act itself) does to us emotionally. I ended up using my sexuality as a mood-altering drug, and further, as a way of coping with insignificance, inadequacy and a sense powerlessness. If I want my boys to avoid getting tangled up in the web of misusing their sexuality, I need to first address these underlying issues. Since I can’t reason with my 4 year old, and his understanding of himself is in part formed by the feedback he receives from me, I’ve decided to tell him what he needs to know about himself. The hope is that my words (reinforced by my actions towards him, of course) will sink into the deepest recesses of his heart and soul. My words to him are setting the model for God’s words to him. In all likelihood some concept of who and how God is will be predicated on how he experiences me. So I want to be incredibly intentional about what he hears.

Since being born, almost every night (I’ve missed a few here and there) I tell him (and my other boys) these 3 things:

1)   I AM PROUD OF YOU. Just because you’re you. Just because you’re my son. Not because of anything you say or do, but just because you’re you.

2)   I LOVE YOU TO THE MAX! Nothing you could ever do or say would make me love you any less, and nothing could ever make me love you any more. I love you to the max.

3)   I BELIEVE IN YOU. And I know you have what it takes to make it as a big boy.

What message does your child need to hear from you? Remember, its never too late to tell them!