Authentic Strength: How a Man Responds to Life Circumstances
As a man, your job, your duty, your identity is to respond to crappy circumstances that life throws at you from a place of strength, composure, and resolve. You are to be strong, yet authentic. That is the DNA that runs through your veins. Strength. Grit. Being unshaken.
But how do you do that without feeling like you’re in denial. How do you find authentic strength when you are seriously hurting, struggling to survive? How do you act calm without feeling like a liar.
Honestly, this post is a bit raw.
I have had—well actually—my family has had a longstanding place of pain…for years now.
We want a home.
We want a place to call our own. Ours. Ours to fill with life. Ours in which to celebrate our love for each other. Ours to wreck. Ours to build back up.
We’re not talking about a mansion here. We’re talking just a tiny little roof over our heads with a yard for our girls and dog to run in. (And to put my hoped-for ozonated hot tub in, of course)
The story behind our NOT having a home of our own is a long one and may be the subject of discussion another time. But regardless of how we got here, the fact is—we ARE here.
Yet one more round of disappointment. And the question arises, men: Where. Is. God.
Where is he?
I can remember, years ago, a time in my life when he showed up around every corner, rescued me from every single-digit time of my bank account, gave me a free car, and bought my wife’s engagement ring. I remember when I had no doubt—ever—that he would pull through miraculously or mundanely. I knew it without a doubt. And I FELT it.
I FELT his nearness. I FELT the surety of his promises. I FELT the security of knowing my Dad would always have my back. There was no question.
And slowly…over the last 10 years…there has been disappointment, after hope deferred, after disappointment again.
And now, another time, the home that we have wanted so badly eludes us.
So what do we do, men, when life’s circumstances spit in our eyes over and over? Because sometimes, let’s be honest, the most authentic response feels like throwing up our hands and walking away. Maybe even throwing a fit.
The way I see it, we have three doors to walk through.
Door #1: Get cheap and resort to religious platitudes that sound good but mean jack.
Behind this door is a shallow, hollow existence. We, with good intentions, dive right into denial and we force a smile and quote a bunch of verses because we know that’s what we’re supposed to do.
We’re Christians after all. This is how we roll.
Door #2: Throw a fit and get bitter and stop trusting God because our life didn’t pan out correctly.
I know. It feels mean to talk that way, but let’s break it down.
How many times, men, have you heard someone say (or said yourself), “I tried that. I used to trust God. I used to believe him. But he let me down. He didn’t do x, y, or z for me. A bunch of crap happened, and God just sat there. His promises bottomed out and I flatlined.”
This response, guys, makes total sense. It’s absolutely 100% understandable. Sometimes the task of believing in spite of all of the evidence stacked against faith, and in spite of all the heaping disappointment, is near impossible.
To have your faith derailed for a bit is human. And it’s authentic. It’s what we’re actually feeling.
But now, it’s time for me to punch you in the gut and wake you up. ‘Cause it’s time to be done licking your wounds.
You’re not asked to be human. And you’re not given permission to stop at impossible. You are told that you can do ALL freaking things. You are told that you can overcome EVERYthing. You are called a superhuman.
And that’s door number 3.
Door #3: Choose what kind of man you are going to be, and stick with it. Stay true to your word.
You’re not allowed, as a man, to be wishy washy and let life throw around your convictions. As a fully masculine man, it is your duty to have principles and live by them, day in day out, rain or shine, sick or healthy, till death do you stop. Even though you may be feeling one thing, you act another thing…not in denial…but in conviction. This is true authenticity, gentlemen.
It is not an option for you to EVER get derailed. That’s not who you are. It’s not in your DNA.
Grit, determination, fight, dogged perseverance.
These are your birthright. Giving up? Please. You don’t do that. And if you have done it, then you don’t do it anymore.
So let me ask you: Are you a Christian? Do you profess to surrender to Jesus and trust the Father? Then do it. Yes, get back up after life kicked you to the curb, wipe off the blood, and keep going one. More. Time. Every time.
So what you declare is not some shallow rote recitation of some feel good tidbit like, “It’s okay because God knows and he’s faithful, brother!”
An Authentic Masculine Response to Life
Come on! Just be real.
This is what you say, “You know…life has been dealing me a lot of blows. We have gotten hammered over and over. And honestly, I can’t really see God’s hand in it, and I don’t feel like he’s doing anything, let alone orchestrating some master plan that’s somehow ’better.’ But I know something, and it’s that he IS real. My life HAS taught me that much. And dammit, he says that he’s good. So I don’t give a shit about what life is telling me right now, because I CHOOSE one more time to trust him. I WILL believe that he is good and that he is true to his word, and he is not the enemy…ever.”
“So you know what, world? Satan? Life? No matter how many punches you throw, I will just declare even harder that my God is good. And somehow, in the middle of the fight, I’ll prove to everyone who cares to watch that God is worthy of a man’s love no matter what.”
So please, let’s not let ourselves succumb to our feelings of doubt and mistrust anymore. It’s cheap and it’s weak and it’s not who we are. We are mighty men of valor. And we are always advancing.
I WILL have a home for my family. And I know God agrees.