UNLEASHED Vol. 1 – Manhood

 

Summary

  1. Being a “MAN!”  What does this look like?  How does he act?  It’s easy right?

    1. Culture vs. Truth

      1. Culture = LIES TO US “Be your own truth, your own god.” “Have all the answers, be perfect.” “Your personal comfort is absolutely #1!” “Key to happiness: sex, power, money.”  “Get your way, always!” “Prove yourself, prove what you’re worth, or hide, don’t show weakness.” “Don’t feel emotion, don’t be vulnerable, don’t show your true self, and don’t share your heart.  Or better yet, forget you have a heart.” “You are alone.”

        1. What lies do you hear?  Can you identify them?

        2. All meant to be distractions to keep us chained up…  These often have the appeal and promise of being attractive and easy.

        3. When pursuing these we will never be satisfied which builds discontentedness and often leads us to anger.

      2. Biblical Truth = Jesus loves us as we are!!!  Jesus desires a relationship with us so that we are NEVER ALONE!  We should strive to be “Christ like.”  Love.  Have patience.  Forgive freely.  Surrender.  Be slow to anger.  SERVANT LEADERSHIP.  Trust. Have faith. Be open, be known.

        1. All meant to keep our focus on Jesus, and keeping Him at the center of our choices and actions!  WWJD! (Remember those bracelets?)  This is HARD!!!

        2. When pursuing Him, we will never be perfect, but the constant effort pays off.  It feels SO rewarding to try to do the right thing, even when we mess it up, because we are forgiven and we don’t give up!

  2. Being a MAN!  It’s all about HEART!

    1. Keep your priorities and resources straight!  From the inside out!!!

      1. GOD, family, work, …

      2. Resources are so valuable!!!  How you use your resources says a lot about your heart and where it’s at!

        1. TIME

        2. Finances

        3. Energy

    2. Our hearts: “Wild at Heart” One author’s view of how our “manly” hearts are wired…

      1. A battle to fight

      2. A beauty to rescue

      3. An adventure to live

Full Length Edition

 

  1. Being a “man.”  Culture vs. Truth

    1. Wow!  This is a tough one to tackle right away, but it is what we are, and it is the tension we live in, so we need to start here.  The more we understand about ourselves, the better we can walk through life, break the chains from the enemy, and hold tight to the links of strength and support!!!  Remember, the links of strength and support are GOD, wife, and brothers.

    2. Our culture often lies to us.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great things about our culture, but all too often, there are subtle lies or big lies connected to advertisements trying to sell us something or pressuring us to value certain things.   “Be your own truth, your own god.” “Have all the answers, be perfect.” “Your personal comfort is absolutely #1!” “Key to happiness: sex, power, money.”  “Get your way, always!” “Prove yourself, prove what you’re worth, or hide, FAKE IT, don’t show weakness.” “Don’t feel emotion, don’t be vulnerable, don’t show your true self, and don’t share your heart.  Or better yet, forget you have a heart.”  “Be tough.”   “You are alone.”  “You’ll be all set if…”  Before we know it, we are blindly chasing after stuff or distractions that are wants, not needs, and using our resources that are meant for something greater.  It’s not always “stuff” or money, it could be placing too much emphasis on relationships with friends, or anything else that distracts us and keeps our focus, like a carrot in front of the tortoise.  I know the above lies exist because they are the lies I HEAR or have heard at different times in my life.  They are the lies I suddenly realize I’m chasing and didn’t realize it at first.  I’m sure I still have lies yet to discover in my life.  There are many more lies out there than are on this list, for each of us it could be different, but I’m willing to bet some of you have heard the same ones as me.

        1. Can you relate to any of the lies above?  Which lies can you identify that you hear from our culture?  Which lies could you add to the list?

        2. Disclaimer!  Pray about it, think about it, and reflect a bit.  Don’t worry if you have a hard time identifying lies from our culture.  It can take time to uncover them, or maybe you are naturally gifted and do a great job of seeing them early and staying away from them.  Be patient with yourself if nothing pops up right away.

        3. Remember:  All the lies culture tries to get you to buy into are meant to be distractions to keep us chained up…  These often have the appeal and promise of being attractive and easy.  They seem fun, exciting, interesting, and pursuing them will “make me better.”  In some ways, these can start as a good thing, well intentioned and normal.  But often it becomes something that takes our heart, holds our attention, and consumes our will.  We then “have to have it.”  We build our decisions and lives around them.  The place it holds in your heart matters.

        4. A way for me to tell if it’s a lie I’m believing is when I am never satisfied by it.  When it does not follow through on what I thought I was going to get from it, all of the sudden that I’m pursing something in place of Jesus.  This futile wrestling match often builds discontentedness and leads me to anger.  Usually, it’s not until I get to that angry place when I get smacked in the head with the truth, I was just chasing after a lie!

        5. For me, “You have all the answers” has been a big lie I’ve believed all throughout my life and still battle each day.  As a man, I love being right, I love having the answer or being able to have an intelligent solution to any problem.  Often though, that lie gets me into big trouble.  I start tuning out those around me, I stop being a team player, I push my agenda, I mock or judge people (in my own head) if I think my idea is better than theirs.  Man, it gets ugly quick!  Do you see the degradation?  It starts from a good place, there is a problem that needs a solution, but since I’m believing “I HAVE TO HAVE THE ANSWER” I go to a dark place quick until I get my way.  The beauty is I don’t have to be like that.  Over time, and lots of prayer/talking with Jesus, I can now catch myself when I start going there and (most of the time) stop myself from believing that lie and staying away from that dark place.

        6. Another big lie for a lot of my first thirty years or so in our culture was “Don’t show emotion, don’t show weakness, be strong, and be tough.”  That lie killed my heart, I went on “system shut down.”  I was afraid to show feelings because of that lie.  I bottled feelings and emotions that I felt, and NEVER showed them.  That lie told me a “man” had to be tough and never cry.  So I “acted” I “posed” all the time, constantly keeping up the image I wanted everyone to see, “Nick, who has it all together.”  I acted nice, easy-going, not a mean tough guy or anything, but I was the “happy” guy, strong, tough, I “had all the answers”, I “didn’t need…“  Nothing ever “got to me.”  There were very few people who I would ever “let in.”  I hurt a lot of people, a lot of friends, family, girlfriends, because I could not be there for them when they really needed me, especially emotionally, because my “image” was more important to me than their needs, I wasn’t available for that.  I pursued “things’ and “stuff” that would help distract me and numb the pain that I tried to act like wasn’t there.  I felt very alone, because I put up walls that kept me alone, all because of a lie. Through all that, I realized I was never satisfied, I was constantly on the pursuit of distraction, anything that would allow me to hide.  I knew I wanted more, something different.  I am so thankful that Jesus never gave up on me.  Over time as I talked with God about this lie, I knew I wanted to stop hurting others and build stronger/better relationships with family and friends, so prayed a lot.  I started talking to friends (brothers in Christ) about it.  I suddenly found that I wasn’t the only guy who felt like this or acted like this.  God shed light into the darkness and allowed me to connect and share with other godly brothers, it was so freeing!!!!  To not feel alone, to hear how other guys’ dealt with the same stuff, and to see how happy they were was awesome!  God used a lot of other guys to motivate me to change.  Now, at times I still feel that lie pop in the back of my head, but Jesus has allowed me the strength and freedom to squash it dead it its tracks.  I am proud to say my heart is changed!  God, my wife, my brothers, and I have broken those chains from the enemy and I’m never going back!

    3. Truth = Jesus loves us as we are!!!  He already knows our hearts, he designed us.  Jesus desires a relationship with us so that we are NEVER ALONE!  When we are not alone, it is so much easier to fight and battle!  He knows we are a work in progress and that we will never be perfect, but he wants us to work at it, to try our best!  He wants us to be mindful of it, to try and keep Him involved in our choices and actions.  To LOVE.  Have patience.  Forgive freely.  Surrender.  Be slow to anger.  Be a SERVANT LEADER!  Trust.  Have faith.  Be open, be known.

        1. All meant to keep our focus on Jesus, and keeping Him at the center of our choices and actions!  WWJD! (Remember those bracelets?)  This is HARD!!!  There are so many competition distractions.

        2. When pursuing Him, we will never be perfect, but the constant effort pays off.  It feels SO rewarding to try to do the right thing, even when we mess it up, because we are forgiven and we don’t give up!  He constantly pursues us, and we need to constantly pursue Him!

        3. Servant leadership.  I believe being a “man” means thinking of others and putting others first.  Not a big push from our culture for this right?  Jesus modeled this so perfectly for us through the gospel.  Loving others as we love ourselves!  Tough at first, but he more you try this the more you will want to do it!

           

  2. Being a “MAN.”  It’ all about heart!  Yeah, I know, that thing I tried to turn off for most of my life.  I’m working on it, working on letting myself feel!  Jesus wants us to live out of our hearts! I’ve already touched on some of the Biblical/spiritual truths in some of my processing of my lies above, but here are some to look at.  To help battle the lies from our culture, hold tight to the links of strength and support.  PRAY!  Go to God first!  Let Him into your heart, talk it out with Him, let Him know what you’re struggling with, and allow Him to talk to you about it, listen!  Talk with your wife, she knows you pretty well.  I bet she might be able to help you fight!  Talk to your brothers, they might be going through or have gone through similar battles!!!

    1. Keep your priorities and resources straight!  From the inside out!!!

      1. GOD, family, work, …

        1. Love well!  1 John 4:7-21 talks a ton about love, we have to love!

        2. We have to keep Jesus at the center of our heart, not an easy thing with all the other stuff from our culture competition for that spot!

        3. The enemy wants to pull our families apart.  After God, we have to put or family next!  Ephesians 5:21-6:4 talks about how important family is and what family should be like.  What is describe there is not easy, it takes WORK!  Servant leadership.

        4. Then work is next and then other less important things in life come after that. 

          1. Another lie issue here.  For me, a lot of my lies will make me want to move things from here up above work, then above family, and then above God.  If you feel this happening, check into it.  You might be onto a lie!!!

      2. Resources are so valuable!!!  How you use your resources says a lot about where you heart and priorities are at!

        1. TIME

          1. Holy cow!  I never realized how valuable time is!  Where you devote your time says a lot about your priorities.  Look at your calendar, where are you spending your time?  It’ll show you a lot of your priorities.

          2. Now that I’m married and have two young boys (Oh yes Jesus thank you!  I am blessed!!!)  I realize how much time I used to waste when I was single!!!  I can do more now in 20 minutes than I used to do in 2 hours when I was single.  I manage time with so much more purpose and focus now.  I mainly view time as:

            1. I have to connect with Jesus at some point today.  I read sometimes in the morning at breakfast.  I usually do a devotional at lunch.  I pray throughout the day.

            2. I have to be efficient with time so I take away as little time from my wife and kids as I can.  I put them first almost always.  I often do not get “my list” of things “I want to do” done very often, but that’s ok.  I get so much joy spending time with my family, it’s worth it to sacrifice things I think “I need” for time with them.

            3. I have to make sure I’m doing well at work.  I have to work hard to keep this one in check.  I am proud of my strong work ethic, and we all need to do well at work, no doubt.  But for me, if I’m not careful I can easily let this one rise above family.  I can start bringing too much work home, sacrifice family time while the boys are awake to work instead.

            4. I have to keep up my weekly responsibilities around the house.  Again, balancing time management, when is the best time to do chores for everyone, not just me?  At times, being ok with a messy house and letting the dusting go for a few weeks.  I’m pretty sure Jesus cares more about my heart and my relationships than how neat and clean my house or yard are. 

            5. I have to get some guy time (brother time) in this week.  Pastor Louie Konopka from my church often says this, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.”  I love that quote!!!  Who we allow access to our heart, who we walk with, will have an impact on who we become and where we go / how we grow.

        2. Finances

          1. A tricky one for sure!  Again, where your money goes will show you where your heart is at.  If you haven’t thought about it before, start paying attention, see what comes up…

          2. Look at your checkbook, it will give you insight into your priorities.

        3. Energy

          1. Physical/spiritual/mental/emotional energy is so important!!!  I can put my family first but if I’m only there in body but I’m totally exhausted physically and mentally I’m not giving them quality time.  I’m not really present.  Rachel and I both work hard and there are times when this is unavoidable, we are just beat from the day and tired.  But we are getting better at saying “no” to stuff so we can be more fully present at home and have energy to love and parent well at home.  NOT EASY!  We are not perfect at this one for sure!  Think about balance here…

    2. Our hearts: “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge.  One author’s view of how our “manly” hearts are wired…

    3. If you haven’t read this book I would really encourage you to!  I think it speaks to most men and their hearts!  It’s a quick easy read, very impactful!  I enjoyed this book and connected to it, I agree with his points, I only wish it had a little more scripture to support it.

      1. A battle to fight (ch.8&9)

        1. I really related to the struggle and battle we all face as men, good vs. evil.  I see myself in one of the Lord of the Rings movies, or something like that, where the obvious separation of good vs. evil is so strong that all you want to do is fight and win! He argues that we are wired to battle for God/with God against the enemy.  Eldredge talks about the enemy in three forms:

          1. The traitor within (our flesh)

          2. The world (culture)

          3. The devil (satan)

            1. We started talking about the world and a bit of our flesh.  More to come on this topic in the future.

      2. A beauty to rescue (ch.10)

        1. Eldredge illustrates, as we are battling evil and working to free ourselves from all the chains and lies from the enemy, we are also wired to hold a valiant role.  The role of rescuer.  To rescue a beauty who needs and desires us to rescue her!  Not that she is helpless, but that our attributes compliment hers, and vice versa.  To lead her, to give her our strength, to battle together. 

        2. This definitely pumps me up.  On those “hum-drum” going through the motions type of days (which happen all too often), this imagery and motivation often help me to keep focused on battling well and not giving in.

        3. This also helps me remember to be a servant leader for Rachel.

      3. An adventure to live (ch.11)

        1. Here John illustrates how God wired our hearts for adventure, danger, risk, thrill, and excitement.  Mainly outdoors type of stuff like hiking, camping, rafting, etc…  He talks about how those types of interactions help us feel connected to feeling alive and connected to God.  Then also that the beauty wants to come along for the adventure and needs to play a role in story.

        2. I certainly agree, but I also see where not everyone can relate.  I think adventure can mean a lot more than just an outdoor excursion.  What does adventure mean to you?

        3. For me, adventure is doing fun stuff outside.  Exploring, hiking, shooting guns, you know, things like that.  I don’t do them very often, but even thinking about them gets me excited.  More day to day stuff that gets me close to this adventure and connects me to God are more like hunting rabbits and ground squirrels in my back yard (exterminating vermin), landscaping, doing other yard work, and exploring with my boys on our walks outside.  Another way I am working towards adventure in my life is doing adventurous stuff with my family and building that sense of adventure into my two boys.  My wife and I bought a used pop-up camper this year and are looking forward to our “adventures” as a family as we go out and camp around the state this summer!

  3. More to come on these topics.  We will dive deeper into parts of “Wild at Heart” in the future.  Thanks for reading and coming along on this adventure with us!

  4. Men, as you read, process, and reflect, I encourage you to enter into discussions about these topics with godly men in your life.  Connect.  Start a conversation, see what Jesus has in store for you and your friends.  Spread the word!  Forward this e-mail to any men you think could benefit from it.  Encourage men you know to get plugged in and sign up to receive the emails. 

  5. Coming soon:

    1. E-mail about supporting our wives/godly women in our lives.

    2. 318 men of freedom BLOG!!!

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