Wednesdays are my favorite days because they’re my day off in the middle of the week. What does that mean? It means that I get to spend the day doing whatever the heck I want to do – which always involves coffee, reading, and (in today’s case) writing.
As I’ve read more and more books, I’ve discovered that there is a common theme among authors – a common theme. Wait – does that last sentence make sense? Yes, it does. The common theme among authors is that they often have a common theme in their writings. For me, as the blog’s title may suggest, that has often been grace. But more and more so, I believe my heart has been stirred in areas of the Holy Spirit and upon the topic of masculinity.
A few days ago, I came across a paper that I wrote in college, titled “Christian Culture and Masculinity”, in which I analyzed many cultural themes and researched how social-media defines the gender role of a man. The question always comes down to, “What makes me a man?” In other words, “At which point will I be ‘man’ enough?” Being wholly accepted, delighted in, and respected are desires that strike the depths of every man’s soul.
While I was waiting on my coffee this morning, I struck up a conversation with the barista. Somehow, she ended up asking me if I had any kids. “No kids here,” I assured her. But does her thinking I look old enough to be a father make me a man?
I’ve often wrestled with this question – when does a man feel as if he has “arrived”? I have a college-degree, work a full-time job, apparently look old enough to have kids, and have worked up to at least some muscle tone from the last year of working out at a gym. Does that make me a man? It doesn’t seem to make things all that much different to be honest. I still feel like me. Would I feel like more of a man if I could update my Facebook with “In A Relationship with…[Insert Pretty Girl’s Name Here]”? Maybe for a few days, but in the end, I’d still just be me.
Is just me enough? Are you enough?
The problem with the word “just” (and why it is in italics), is that it assumes the role of insignificance. It’s like when say something along the lines of, “Wish I could do more, but I’ll just pray for you.” Prayer is not insignificant though, and neither are you and I.
If you’re in the gaming world at all, then you know that many of the games now have “Achievements” – so when you get a “Double Kill” – then you get a message that says, “Achievement Unlocked” with whatever perk comes along with it. I think we often view life in this way. “If I could just accomplish/conquer this one thing on status-ladder, then I would be fulfilled…”
Aren’t you tired of climbing?
Aspiration is one thing, but obsession with whether or not you’ve “made it” in the world, or falling into agonizing depression because you believe yourself to be “lesser” are quite another. And it will never be enough. Trust me – accomplish one thing and you’re already hungry to accomplish the next thing – often not even taking the time to be grateful for the first ‘success’.
You’re the only you there is in the world. There is no other Justin Meyer, aka “Flame”, out there, and even if there is, God has created me for a purpose and blessed me with many gifts to reach others in a way that no one else can.
The same is true of you, brothers. You are, indeed, necessary. You can, if you choose to be, enlist yourselves in the band of brothers that can confidently rest in full assurance that they are MEN. And not only men, but MEN OF GOD, if they will only live for His Kingdom.
So I’ve made a personal promise to myself (that I would love for you to hold me to), that I will no longer waste my time worrying about whether or not I am a man. Because I am. Rather, I will simply be a man – I will diligently pursue and rest in all the LORD has to offer. “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” There’s no turning back now.
I’m a man.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue of masculinity. What do you think MAKES someone a man? How does one become “man enough”? What are some roadblocks to you (or others) believing they are truly a man that has the ability to make an impact?