I am going through a devotional with a number of my brothers from church. It is from YouVersion plans and is called Wild Life. Today we were presented with this…
Your Wounds Have Words
In his New York Times best-selling book, Wild at Heart, John Eldredge says, “A wound that goes unacknowledged and unwept is a wound that cannot heal.” Straight to our faces, sitting at the river’s edge, John told us his story. As a boy, he and his dad were close. They’d fish together, throw a ball, and go camping. It was any boy’s dream. Then John’s dad checked out to alcohol. Just like that, at age 12, John became the strongest man in his world. Maybe you can relate.
Later, John would invest his heart in a girlfriend, but she didn’t stick around either. He’d spend summers with his grandfather who eventually passed way. John’s wound was deepening like the canyon we sat in, nearly audible over the sound of the river. It sounded like this: “Everyone leaves. You’re on your own.” When John decided to write his first book, he wrote it with one of his best friends who later died in a climbing accident at their first men’s event. The wound’s message became louder…
…You could hear the messages of our wounds as we started sharing. I don’t need anyone. I’m not enough. I’m a quitter. I’ll do better than him. What message does your wound send?
The manhood question that haunts me and many of you, as described in the devotional video, is “Do I have what it takes”. As I contemplated that question in me and read the scripture references provided, I saw this question in a whole new way that, by God’s grace, renewed my paradigm of thinking in a very freeing way, but also in a very instructive way.
To understand what I mean let’s break the question down in 4 parts:
“Do I have” – “what” – “it” – “takes”? This is going to take some concentration.
“Do I have” – is the portion of the question that haunts our fears of not measuring up but also drives our longing to be wanted, respected, accepted and even wanted. It launches our manly tendency to perform or give up. It feeds our pride to overestimate or underestimate ourselves and guides or misguides our desires and pursuit of them.
“What” – is the remedy or condition attached to our assurance and satisfaction and is the goal of “what” justifies us.
“It” – is the thing we are trying to please outside of us, but also the belief we have about that thing and “what” we believe it expects of us. Basically the “It” is the object of our faith.
“Takes” – means that “It” has a demand (this is the “what”) that is the condition as to whether I am justified or not according to the “It” (this is big for me). It is the stark reality that I have to “have” something that the “it” will “take” if “It” is to be satisfied, which in turn equates to my justification and ability to say, “Yes. I do have what it takes”.
In the form of one question and one statement, let’s consider the only two foundational beliefs that wrestle in our hearts, where our “treasure lies” (Mat 6:21).
- Do I HAVE (what I am capable of in my own strengths, abilities and resources) WHAT IT TAKES (what the world and my fellow man expects, demands and will surely take form me) in a way that will completely satisfy the world’s standard of acceptance and sooth my heart with the justification it has to offer? The answer is an absolute NO. Even if I find a measure of justification through what little I have to offer for today or in one sector of society, I will surely be a disappointment tomorrow or in another sector of society. The standard is ever changing and the jury and the doctrines they hold are like the wind. You’ll never know which way it will blow. And left to myself my own desires are just as windblown.
- I HAVE what has been given to me by God (my Father) in Christ – His forgiveness, His acceptance, His favor, His strength, His assurance, His presence, His provision, His guidance, the promises of His Word and His justification through His Son – for WHAT IT TAKES. Respectfully in the context the questions, God (It) has given me “what” He demands for me to be accepted justified in His Kingdom and that is all that matters. Are we still haunted with the questions? Sure we are. But settle in your heart that God himself, your perfect Father and Creator has “taken” His own son’s life so that yours won’t be taken for eternity. And in the battle of life in this world, if what the fallen world demanded and continues to demand or take (Crucify him!!) did not get satisfied on the Cross, there’s nothing you can ever do on your very best day to satisfy the demand of mankind. So, quit trying by realizing and embracing the full measure of what you have in Christ to the glory of your heavenly Father who loves you and accepts you. Do you have what it takes? YES!
Eph 3:14-21 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Thank you Lord for stirring our hearts in a way that leads us to You, the true longing of our hearts.
Men need other men in real authentic noncompeting relationships to share these kinds of things with so together they may wrestle together with truth, love and acceptance. Men need to intentionally find this kind of friendships. It’s not going to come looking for you. That is both the scheme of our enemy (who wants to isolate you) and a test of your faith (that will free you). Go find some friends.