by JohnPaul Basham
If I were to walk you through my favorite movies of all time you would quickly see a theme. I can’t get enough of the silent, brooding hero. He usually blocks everything out until it’s time to act, and then its “game over.” These heroes seem to embody the essence of manliness. They don’t complain, they can’t be deterred, and when things go wrong, they figure it out. They never seem to need pain medicine or to reset a broken arm. Neither do they stitch up a bullet wound. There is, however, one glaring issue that stands out in the lives of these characters: they are tragically, painfully, alone. Their silence and their inability to let others into their lives isolates them.
Ultimately these are fictional characters should have no bearing on our lives, but all too often they do. We see these characters as a model for what manhood should look like and we begin to carry out our own version of this silent “strength” in our own homes…and we see the same problems. The reality is that most men are not the strong, silent type at all. They are the silently despairing type.
We have allowed ourselves to become completely isolated, and as a result we have been trapped. Many of us are trapped in cycles of sin, most of us feel trapped in some sort of shame, and many of us are scared to say a word about it. Believe or not, you’re not alone! As a matter of fact, if you feel like you are reading the results page from some annoyingly correct online personality test right now, it’s because our enemy has made it his business to enslave men for generations in this same way.
So what do we do? The Scriptures tell us that we are supposed to lead our families, love our wives, disciple our children, serve the church, and spread the gospel, among other things. In other words, we are supposed to lead. Believe me, I understand how overwhelming all of this can seem, but it’s like anything else. You have to pick a place and take one step forward. Here are a few suggestions to get you going.
- Pray – Many men don’t pray because it feels awkward and they don’t know what to say, but this is the easiest possible step in the right direction. Just start talking. It doesn’t matter if the conversation is awkward at first. Prayer is like anything else. The more you do it, the more comfortable it will get.
- Read – Find a Bible reading plan and make a goal of reading or listening to the Bible every day.
- Meet – Find another guy with whom you can have an honest conversation. This can be hard, but are we too scared to reach out to another guy and acknowledge that we are all struggling with something? One of the most life-giving things I’ve ever done is to find a man who loves Jesus is committed to meet with him every week.
- Lead – It is never too late to start leading. The enemy wants you to feel like you’ve already blown your chance to lead, or that no one will take you seriously, but this isn’t the case. Take a few minutes to write down the areas in your life where you would like to start leading. Some examples might include:
- Praying with your wife before you go to sleep.
- Praying with your kids before they go to school.
- Eating dinner together as a family one night a week and leading everyone in answering a few questions about faith and life.
- Creating a simple 5-10 word gospel-centered family mission statement.
- Creating a prayer list for each family member with Scriptures specific to each person’s needs.
The bottom line is this: It is NOT too late to start leading. Ask the Lord to show you the way and just start steppin.