4 Things I Learned From Reading “Growth Into Manhood: Resuming The Journey”

 

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading and re-reading the book “Growth Into Manhood: Resuming the Journey,” by Alan Medinger.

The reading has been both informative and challenging as it relates to Biblical Manhood. I’ve spent a lot of time reading the writings of John Eldredge, but Alam Medinger has turned out to be a good and healthy change of pace.

Medinger speaks to men who have become men physically but are still in so many ways behaving like boys. But, he also addresses men who are attempting to leave or who have left homosexuality and same-sex attraction in an attempt to embrace their God-given masculinity.

After reading the book, I’ve been able to pull 4 things from the book that has really challenged me and helped me in my own walk into Biblical Manhood:

1. “STOP Believing ‘I’m Not Like Other Guys.'”

I learned that what I needed to stop believing was that I was “other” or “different.” While yes, I was unique, as the Lord made me. But, that didn’t mean that I was not capable of becoming the man that God called me to be. And, it certainly didn’t mean that I was not like the guys.

…he felt different from other boys, and different always translated as “less than” or “inferior to.” These feelings continued through the teen years and into adulthood. Even today, in the company of other men, he feels that somehow he is not a part of their world.

Medinger, Alan. Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey (p. 14). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In fact, my wife has consistently reminded me and encouraged me in more than one way, both seriously and comedically, that I’m definitely like her Father and her uncles.

I’m unique and so is my Father-In-Law and others on my wife’s side. But, like a lot of guys, I display a certain level of masculinity and even at times a kind of fun-loving and healthy “boyishness” that comes out at proper times.

But, growing up, I thought otherwise.

When I was a boy, I always felt “different.” I didn’t really care for sports and I was more interested in things like books, art and music. My personal interests and obsessions featured Meteorology and Nuclear Science.

I was often bullied and teased for the way I dressed, the way I talked and the way I acted. It also didn’t help that I was attending Special Ed courses for my less than perfect background in math and reading.

Over and over, various experiences in my boyhood kept affirming the LIE that I was “not like other guys.”

So, I isolated myself…my comic books, video games, cartoons, anime and current events and music and books kept me company.

And, I would continue stating what felt like the truth about myself:
“I don’t do what other guys do” or “that’s not my thing.” I found myself avoiding attempts at trying sports and the times I did try it wasn’t too heartfelt due to lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

So, what would’ve and could’ve been healthy, masculine experiences with opportunities to test my manhood and grow were often missed…sometimes due to lack of mentoring and initiation. And other times due to a personal decision to avoid and keep away from the potential of feeling humiliated, embarrassed and shamed.

2. Break Down Barriers Between Yourself and Other Men.

Healthy growth into Biblical Manhood is an effort that does not occur by ones self. It is an effort that involves your daily walk in the Lord, taking in and living out the Word of God and connecting with others. In particular, other men.

Masculinity bestows masculinity, as I’ve heard others say.

 

The Lord convicted me during the reading of Medinger’s book, making me realize that I actually had a wall built up between myself and the men that I “assumed” were not like me and I not like them.

Because they did not have the same, unique, interests, or come from the same situation as I did, I felt as though I could not relate. It didn’t help either that I kept pushing the idea that I was “not like the guys.”

I prayed and broke the walls down in prayer, asking the Lord to forgive me and to help me build healthy and wholesome relationships with other men.

When those walls came falling, those emotional and mental and heart-centered and self-centered walls, I began to realize what I was missing out on in the masculine journey. In fact, I began to realize that I had just as much in common with the men at my church, the men at my job and everywhere else.

3. No Longer Live From the Place Of the Boy. Give The Lord The Boy That’s In You!

When you’re around adult men, you probably as I have before, felt really, really young. Then, the temptation comes to try and be more than who or what you really are.

You pose! You “fake it till you make it.”

This is especially true if you’re around men whom you perceive have it all together and seem to be at the pinnacle of masculinity.

And you, you feel like a little boy. For me, I felt, oh say around, 13 years old…stuck in a place of perpetual adolescence. Which made sense, because the Lord over time was showing me that that period of my life was filled with me realizing some of my gifts but not quite sure in my identity.

For a lot of men, they feel young in some place in their life…totally unprepared…unfinished…not completely mature or grown-up so to speak.

When men live in the place and space of the little boy, they never “put away childish things.” Everything is about them. It is self-preservation and selfishness and self-centeredness.

For men in this scenario, because what was supposed to be affirmed and tested in boyhood was not done so, life’s struggles cause men to fold, shutdown, give up, stay quiet, be passive and surrender.

This is where misinterpretation of life’s challenges and circumstances could take place — and confusion in boyhood comes, perhaps from mental, physical or sexual abuse or even from failures that were without mentoring or affirmation or just fear.

“…he (the boy) will soon be tested, and he will face battles and challenges as a warrior, and those tests and challenges often feel to men like a form of rejection or coldheartedness on the part of God, because he does not first know in his heart of hearts that he is…beloved.”

John Eldredge, Fathered by God, pg. 50

2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us the spirit of fear (or timidity), but of power, love and a sound mind.”

A little boy is comfortable. A little boy avoids responsibility, because responsibility can be uncomfortable. But God gives us responsibility.

Medinger, Alan. Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey (p. 179). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

But, what if we give the Lord the little boy in us!? What does that even look like!?

For me, it was me giving to Jesus my deepest fears, hopes, dreams, desires and hurts. It was telling him about the abuse, the bullying, the rejection and the pain behind it.

4. Devotional Time!

As much as the antidotes and stories that Medinger shared were incredibly helpful and affirming as I learn to walk out Biblical Manhood, their is one thing that Medinger said that put everything in perspective…devotional time with God in prayer and Bible study.

As much as activities for men that bond help, and, realizing the issues and wounds in your own life held you back from real faith, what helps to bring it all together and move you forward is the time you spend with God the Father and Christ Jesus.

It has been amazing how much prayer time and Bible study has really helped me. The Lord has been bringing up past wounds from my heart to heal me. He’s “restoring my soul” and giving me a “new heart.”

Not Like The Other Guys

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Earlier this week, while reading “Fathered by God” by John Eldredge, I was moved to ask the question, “what is it that I believed for the longest time that hindered my growth of being the best man I could be?” Then, it hit me, and it was something that echoed in my heart and mind for the longest time.

“I’m not like the other guys!”

When I was a kid, I could remember sitting in the back in class, drawing and creating things on paper from imagination. I listened to music that was totally different from my classmates. They listened to a lot of rap and hip-hop while I kept secret my love for movie instrumentals, news themes, rock, Gospel and so forth. As a kid, my passion grew for writing, cartooning and even youth ministry.

During Elementary and Middle School I struggled to relate with other kids, especially with other boys. Up until High School, bullying and rejection was the norm.

I talked differently…dressed differently…acted differently…and that made me a target for ridicule and shame.

The more I continued to investigate this, I found out something fascinating about this thought…this very thing that I believed about myself for the longest time.

While it was true that I was different from other guys (because we all are individually unique) I also was being robbed of the idea that I was not able to ever connect with other guys in a healthy, holy and brotherly way. Truth is, there are men that we can connect with that have our best interests as well as men who can relate to some part of our story that we are living.

And, I can still dare to be different as I go forward in my masculine journey. The world needs different men…men who are strong…men who will stand up when it is inconvenient…men who will be warriors for a cause greater than themselves…for there families, for there jobs, for there community and for all.

The idea of “not being like the guys” was a well crafted lie wrapped in what sounded (and felt) like a horrible truth.

Truth is…I am like other guys. I like adventure. I like a good challenge. I have strength (I may not be buff, but I have strength that surpasses anything on the outside). I have courage.

I also found out that there are other young men much like myself…the geeky…the nerdy…critical thinkers…creatives…men of Faith…followers of Christ…my people! It took some time, but, I was able to connect and bond with other guys and build up a brotherhood unlike anything I ever experienced in boyhood.

My hope is that you do the same in your own journey.