Last Sunday at church I talked about salvation, grace and nurture. As I was driving to a lunch meeting I thought about what else could I have shared with the congregation to drive the import of nurture? It’s not uncommon for me to feel like I’ve missed something. So here is the something that maybe I missed. I thought about my own heart and how it had not been nurtured throughout my childhood and how God shaped my heart through His nurture of me.
The healing of my heart came as I learned how to allow the wonder of God’s nurture of me to shape and heal my heart. As I learned how to delight in His beauty and love through the Scriptures and the quieting of my soul to hear His still small voice my fears began to melt away. This came as I dug deeper into God’s greatness and goodness. This filled my heart with wonder and changed many of my old selfish desires. Responding to God’s loving initiative towards me I realized that for many years I was seeking this nurture in people through broken and manipulative ways. Realizing how much God the Father loves me began to heal me of my “bentness” towards others to give me what they did not have. All of this working things out with God energized me to honor him with my life and to be more courageous to share my faith with others. If you are feeling anxious, disorganized and avoiding community this Christmas season, might I remind you that God is a safe haven, a source of security for even the weariest traveler.
Please consider reading Psalm 139:15-18 this week. It’s a wonderful picture of King David teaching us what it means to come to that place of nurture and wonder.
May God’s Spirit rest upon you this Christmas season
The journey of finding one’s masculinity has been one of the most frustrating trips for so many men that I’ve ministered to throughout the years. Many of these men struggle to believe they have what it takes to bring the strength and form that life’s situations call for. They’d prefer to defer to someone else rather than take their rightful place as men.
This passivity is more prominent than we know or perhaps are aware of in our day-to-day lives. I believe down deep in every man is a power; an energy that if tapped into would bring greater wisdom and understanding to a man’s direction in life. Unfortunately for some that energy remains dormant due to the fact that their fathers, pastors, mentors or coaches never called it forth in them. Never affirmed it then blessed it into being.
Without that calling forth men tend to wander through life or rise in a false masculine power to prove themselves “man enough.” This is usually seen through over achieving in sports, work or intellect. Many of us have bought heavily into the belief that our self-worth is directly dependent upon our occupational success, and yet the “idol’ of work somehow does not deliver its promised salvation. I have found with many of these men a difficulty to bond with God, women and other men. Leaving them with unmet relational needs that usually lead to acting out with them selves or with an anonymous other.
Many of these men see this as normative. What every red blooded American man should be experiencing. As men, we tend to cling to rigid and stereotypical concepts of masculinity. This has slowed many men in their understanding and search for greater wholeness.
Instead of learning how to “go the way of the cross” with our pain and yearning we run from the promised resurrection of our broken selves. Fearful and frightened of what our healing might look like or require of us we busy ourselves with the continued building, protecting and promoting of our false selves.
Not a very encouraging picture because I realize that many men are hurting but are unwilling to address their pain. And its not just physical pain but deep emotional pain that comes from how unprepared, unequipped and fearful we are of that depth of intimacy. Add to that our need to prove to everyone that we are “straight” and the pressure to not appear too touchy feely, sensitive or effeminate.
So there you have it! Not only are we deeply hurting but we are deeply yearning for more life giving connectedness with other men and dare I say God.