Men: Find What Matters Most for the Rest of Your Life
- Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Move mountains a little at a time. Rather than shrinking back from significant tasks or despairing that your own small efforts won’t amount to much, know that you can get the job done if you focus well on doing a little bit at a time. Look back on what you’ve been able to accomplish so far in life, and let that encourage you that your work is worthwhile.
Be brave. Whenever you feel intimidated by a situation, remember all the challenges you’ve faced and successfully overcome up to this point in your life. Be proud of how brave you’ve been before, and continue to take whatever risks you sense God leading you to take.
Consider what it means to be a man. Think about how you got your ideas about how men are supposed to feel and act. Write down the qualities you believe men should have. Then ask yourself how possessing or desiring each of those qualities has impacted your life and your relationship with God. List three men who have meant the most to you personally, and list the characteristics that you admire about them. Be aware of how the simple fact of being a man either helps or hurts you in life. Ask God to help you discern what constitutes true manhood.
Become a great son. If you haven’t already, stop depending on your parents for your physical or emotional well-being. Realize that your thoughts as an adult are valid, despite how little your thoughts may have been respected as a kid. Get rid of the ideas your parents taught you about life and about yourself that were wrong; replace those mistaken concepts with biblical truth. Reclaim the instinctive joy of being a boy. Remember the basic life lessons you learned in childhood. Be proud of the fact that you survived childhood and emerged as a functioning adult. Appreciate the deep impact your family has had on your personality and entire life. Write two letters to your father: One in which you describe the ways he disappointed and hurt you over the years, and one in which you tell him how much you love him and why. Show the negative letter to your wife, close friend, or someone else you trust, and then store it in a safe place. Mail the positive letter to your dad (if he’s still alive), or read it to someone close to you who also knew your dad (if he has passed away). Think about how being your father’s son has affected your relationship with God. Imagine that you’re having a conversation with yourself as a little boy. Listen carefully to what your inner child says, and write it down. Then share your notes with your wife and talk about how you’d like to reclaim the little boy you used to be.
Become a great husband. Make your marriage relationship more about love and less about sex, so your focus in bed is on making love instead of just the end result. Get rid of psychological baggage and be honest with your wife about your inner thoughts and feelings. Make your wife your best friend. Stop taking your wife for granted; realize there’s always more to learn about her, and work to discover more. Spend as much time as you can with your wife. Understand the value of compromise. Strive to be your wife’s hero. Thank God for how deeply He has been present in your life and your wife’s life. Ask your wife to tell you five things about herself that you may not already know. Talk openly with your wife about what’s like for you to go through midlife. When you find yourself expressing anger toward your wife, stop to consider whether you might be angry with her because of something uncomfortable going on inside of you. If so, apologize to your wife and talk about what’s really bothering you. Have an honest discussion with your wife about how satisfied you each are with your sex life and what you can do to improve it.
Become a great provider. Don’t define yourself just by the type of work you do. Embrace your identity in Christ, and seek to fully develop all the different parts of your life. Rise above the gossip and personal politics that exist in your workplace. Whenever you need encouragement to tackle a challenging task at work, remember how you overcome challenges to accomplish great things in the past. Use the valuable knowledge you’ve gained of team dynamics over the years to succeed at work. Thank God for the jobs you’ve gotten over the years and the ways you’ve been able to financially support your family. Imagine yourself walking away from your current job, and write down all the thoughts and feelings that come to you. Then go through your list to separate your unrealistic fears from real concerns. Make a list of bosses you’ve disliked, and why you disliked working for them. Think of what you did to adapt and survive, and be proud of how you are able to do that, so you can also do that in any future difficult situations. Write down all the types of jobs you thought as a child that you wanted to do when you grew up. Consider what ways you’ve been able to incorporate your current work into the dreams you had as a boy. Consider how you would choose to spend your time if you suddenly became very rich and never had to work another day in your life. Let your thoughts give you clues about how satisfied you are or aren’t with your current work, and what changes (if any) you’d like to make.
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