Heart-to-hearts among guys are not something that happen by accident very often. To get guys to bare their souls to one another is like trying to pull teeth sometimes – bloody, painful, and there’s rarely a “justified” reason for it. I’m forever grateful for the men in my life that have made it their mission to find and connect with my heart. To the few brave souls that have dug in deep, formed ties, and will always care about the man I am – you guys are the reason I’m still here standing, fighting to love and know Jesus more. It’s because of you and our mutual faith that depression has never truly threatened to smother the Flame within my soul.
The problem is that guys just don’t really, actually talk to one another. Not usually, anyways. Think of your coworkers. You see each other every day. You all mutually are tired and frustrated with the day, the weather, your favorite sports teams – maybe you even take a moment to vent about something relationally trivial. But do you really know your coworkers? The people you spend the majority of your week with. When was the last time you had a legitimate conversation with them and found out what troubled their heart and soul? Do you know what their thoughts on eternity are?
I think one of the chief desires within a man’s heart is to connect. Thankfully, the Lord has found it best for us to not be alone – and so we pair off with beautiful, strong, Christ-like women and they love and cherish and encourage and pray and fight for us. But at the end of the day, it’s not enough. It’s an exhausting battle. They couldn’t possibly be the only source of strength. Our only resting place. Our only source of wisdom. Putting a woman (0r a man, for you women) in the place of God is idolatry (a fancy word for regarding something else as higher than God). It’s as if despite the Cross, despite the Gospel, and despite the fact that Holy Spirit is still forcing your heart to wrestle day and night between Light and Darkness, we don’t believe God truly desires good for us, so we run to another outlet.
A side effect of growing up and these pairing offs is that for whatever reason we stop investing our time and resources in our guy friends. It’s too tiresome to schedule anything – everyone is always busy. We decide it’s not worth the fight, or the energy. And yet deep down, one of the deeper desires we have is to really connect with a brother. Someone that has been there or is there – someone that can simply share in the hardships of life. Even someone that we can call with the good news that something went right!
I simply refuse to let my friends slide off the face of the earth. They may hate me for it somedays. But once it reaches the point of a month or two of not seeing them, I’m to the point of threatening to knock on their door (and they know I will). But we have to see each other. We have to invest in one another’s lives. Aside from your significant other, the men you surround yourself with will make or break the man you are. Their apathy will lead to your apathy if you choose the wrong ones. And their passion for Scripture will lead to your piqued interest and renewed commitment to understanding the God you’ve “worshiped” since 1st Grade.You can glean wisdom from their mistakes and they can glean wisdom from yours. Growing together is a beautiful, hard, far too undervalued thing in life.
So this week, I’m calling all men to call one another. Pick up the phone and call one of the guys you grew up with, or someone you’ve always respected. Call “just because” – ask how they’re doing, if you can pray for them and see when the next time is you’re going to hit the gym or coffee-shop, or see the latest comedian/band with them.
Men, we can’t be so afraid to share our hearts. If your friends are anything like me, they can see right through that thin layer of crap you put up as your front anyways. They know when you’re lying, when you’re in sin and stiff-arming community to let evil stay a night or two longer. They can see when joy’s returned and when life’s been too hard. More often than not, they want to be there for you as much as you want to be there for them. We’re just bad at vocalizing it.
So, I dare you. Share your heart and see what happens. Ask for help. Ask for prayer. Invite them over to process the things you’d like to improve on and ask them to share their stories of how they overcome their own obstacles. We’re much better off together. A kingdom won’t stand long if it’s army is a bunch of lone-rangers. We need to be increasingly united, more prone to forgiveness than bitterness, and more ready to listen than to shove our own opinion down someone else’s throat (more often than not, uninvited).
Call your friend. Call your brother. Call your Dad. And call on the men that used to raise you up in the Spirit as a young rascal on the Little League baseball team. Love them because you know that God loves you. Love them not for what they can do for you, but simply for who they are. Believe in Christ’s ability to redeem even the darkest hearts. It’s going to cost you your time and sometimes your patience. But it’s worth the cost. A man rich in relationships is never truly poor – his heart is overflowing with life, hope, and faith that redemption can come for any man – because other men believe it can come for him.