Thursday, January 10, 2013

Manly Men

I once told my oldest brother that I wanted a man that's a man. You know, big and man-like. Coarse hands, broad shoulders, deep voice, hair on the chest (I'm not really into that whole chest-shaving thing).

He looked at me and simply said, 'That's not what makes someone a man.'

Shoot. It's not?
I mean, I know it's not... but do I really? The truth of my brother's statement pierced through the lies I have allowed myself to believe for decades (I think I'm old enough to say that now...).

It actually made me start thinking about all the seminars, talks, conferences, break-out sessions that we go to on being godly men and women. Only...we go to the ones that teach us how to be godly within our own genders. I can't think of a time where I've gone to, or was given a chance to go to, something on learning what it means to identify a godly man, allow him to truly pursue you, and really dwell on the things that actually matter in a romantic relationship.

I think it doesn't typically happen for a few reasons. One, we're probably too scared that it'll cause people to 'lose their focus'. Completely devoting something like that to the opposite gender in a way that's talking about the good stuff seems pretty sketch. It makes it seem like we're encouraging dating and romance when really we'd rather young people stay away from it as long as possible so they don't accidentally lose their virginity. We also probably assume lots of it is obvious. Don't date jerks. Everyone knows that, right? Why do we need to tell people that? I don't know... but it seems to happen too much of the time, so maybe we're missing something.

Here's all I'm getting at...
At some point along the way I started believing that the man of my dreams would be a certain way. We can blame society, or my role models, or the books I've read, or the movies that I've watched, or the advertisements that I see... but, regardless of where it came from, I don't think when I was younger that there was ever anyone telling me that I should maybe keep my heart open to men wrapped in a very different package from my expectations.

What is a godly man?
And beyond that, how do I be attracted to that when it can look so different from my knight and shining armor?

When a man loves the Lord passionately, seeks Him with His whole heart, is kind, generous, selfless... a man of good character... can that be enough? Can my heart be opened to, regardless of whatever is on the outside, allowing this to be 'man' enough for me?

I guess I'm just admitting my superficiality. That my understanding of what it means to be a 'man' has more to do with earthly things than eternal things...and that needs to change. I feel like I need to retrace my steps through life and erase the moments when I thought that being a man required athleticism, intelligence, muscles, good-looks, height... and whatever else my mind has firmly established as 'manly'.

It kind of feels like something that only Jesus can do, though. And I pray that He does. I want to fully appreciate men who are wholeheartedly devoted to Christ without mentally emasculating them in the process. To fully see that kind of man as someone who is truly a 'man', regardless of their appearance or their fleshly skills.

To let what matters matter...and to let what doesn't fade away.

Ladies, I hope you'll join me in this prayerful endeavor to truly honor the men in our lives who are on this treacherous path of attempting to (much like us) fight what the world is saying what kind of men they should be versus what the Lord is calling them to. May we be women who seek to love them for who they are, not what they can do or how they look. May we be women who can set aside expectations and standards for what we thought we always wanted, and be women who can be open to something different and, most assuredly, better.

Men, I'm sorry for the ways we've so often let you down in this, for the ways that we've discouraged your walk with Jesus and undermined it's importance because we've been too consumed with caring about things that simply don't matter. I pray that you'll find the freedom to live abundantly in Him, trusting that there are women who will see and love the beauty that flows from a heart that is truly devoted to Christ.

I'm so very thankful for you, men.
Thank you for continuing to follow, even when it's hard. Thank you for striving to live lives with your eyes set on heavenly things and not earthly things.

I still have much to learn, and much to grow in.
And so the fight resumes...
Join me.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Debbie, your post was the first thing on my minifeed this morning, and the title alone reminded me of a recent post with a similar theme (in prayer form) I read at the beginning of this week ---> "I have a dream that instead of my sisters praying for God to grant them husbands, they would ask for men to be raised up whose love for God can never be outweighed by any human...."