This week I was asked to be part of a men’s bible study. I accepted, but with some reluctance. You see, I am not a huge fan of men’s groups. I have been part of several men’s groups over the years. Sadly, most have not ended well. No major incidents, just not a lot of love or genuineness. Unfortunately, I do not think my experience is isolated. Why is it so hard for men to gather and be real with each other? Here are some of my thoughts.
Don’t Share Your Feelings. Most men are raised not to share their feelings. This usually starts at a young age. It could be a father or coach telling that young boy to not cry. To be tough. Shake it off. At the time it sounds like great advice. Then that young boy becomes an adult and has no idea how to share their feelings. Not just with other men, but with anyone.
Surface Conversations. Men are great at surface conversations. We can talk about our jobs or sports all day long. Just don’t asked most men how they’re really doing. Most will not know how to react. They might bolt and never return.
Identity. Most men start off a conversation with “What do you for a living.” Most men are caught up in their careers. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your career and providing for your family. God wants men to provide for their families. But what happens when that identity is taken away? I remember when I had to retire early based on my health issues. I lost a big part of my identity. At the same time, I had to give up running. A double blow to my identity. Who am I now? What is my purpose?
During this crazy beautiful health journey, God has revealed three identities with me, that I believe we all deal with at some point in our lives. Not just men. This revelation has helped me be the person God truly created me to be. I pray it helps you.
World Identity. This is the identity the world creates for us. Our careers, our relationships and our possessions. If we are not careful, this identity can consume us. Our world identity is build on sand. It can be washed away in seconds.
Goliath Identity. This is a negative identity we create inside us. The one that says we are not good enough. We will never measure up. Why are we even trying? Just stay who and where you are. This identity can keep us from living the life God truly created for each of us.
Our Identity in God. This identity is the one that will make us whole. The one that will allow us to be all that God has created us to be. This is our true identity.
So, I will attend the Bible Study next week. I will go into it with an open mind and heart. My prayer is that real topics will be discussed. That these men will not be afraid to speak truth. I pray that real friendships will be made. ~OC