Man Up Musings - Man Up Adventures
Nathan

Courage

June 23, 2014
Galen Thompson

Have you ever wondered why men seldom admit they are lost and rarely stop to ask directions? Are you kidding?! Men don't get lost! We just get momentarily confused! "I know I can find my way out of here, just give me a little more time...well maybe just a little bit more time!" To ask directions would expose weakness, the antithesis of manhood! To us, manhood equals strength, not weakness!

Wait a minute! I think there is some momentary confusion on the definition of "strength." To be strong is to be "well-assured." Lost, and refusing to admit it, is obviously anything but being "well-assured!"

John Eldredge, in his book The Utter Relief of Holiness, states,

"Every man has a very deep and powerful commitment never, ever to place himself in a situation where he might be exposed."

Hence, we play it safe (passive) to protect our image or put on our tough-man face and run over people. But, "playing it safe" or "running rough shod over people" is the antithesis of true courage, which is core to authentic manhood. The reality is that what we are afraid of is exposure.

Our fear centers not on "being lost", but that we will be "exposed" as one being lost. Courage is the ability to do something in spite of fear; strength in the face (exposure) of pain or grief. Courage is to face the fear of exposure. Courage is to stop to ask for directions. The core of masculinity is true courage. Man up! Seek help. Be transparent.

Two nights ago I had a dream: I and two young men that I was mentoring were at an airport awaiting a connecting flight for an overseas missions endeavor. This was their virgin voyage. I was the seasoned traveller. Having some time between flights they asked for a tour of the airport. I obliged. We stopped at many points of interest. I let time slip away. One of the young men looked at his phone (today's watch) and asked, "What time is our flight? We've only a few minutes!" I, in an attempt to maintain calmness, assured them that we would make our flights and suggested we quickly catch the public restrooms before heading back.

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It was upon departure from the restroom that I discovered that I no longer had my carry-on luggage. It wasn't in the restroom. I, being absent minded while absorbed in being the professional tour guide, had left my luggage somewhere along the tour. I directed my protégés to the gate and hastened to my luggage search. Panic began to build. I determined to maintain focus and be resolute. Man up! However, search as I may, I could not find my luggage. Precious time was slipping away. Crisis took a firm grip on me! I opened a door in my final search attempt and found myself on the tarmac. I was completely lost (or should I say, "temporarily confused")!

"Forget the luggage! I'm lost and my flight has boarded! Swallow your pride. Seek assistance from any airport employee." I started running: coat tails flapping in the breeze...I mean, mad dashing. People everywhere, but not an employee in sight! Dismay and panic were at full-throttle! Hope was in reverse! I was running wildly! In my madness, I heard a voice, God's voice. He asked, "What about me? You've never sought help from me?"

"Huh?" I stopped running. I turned. He swept me up and gave me an airborne view/map of everything. He provided solution and peace instantaneously!

What are you running from? What's that all about?

Such a fool I was, trying to do it on my own. Thinking I was being a man, putting on the tough-man, not facing the failure of my own making! Not only could I not find that which was lost, I became lost trying! I was so glazed over with my man-duty of self-determination that I never considered asking God for assistance - exposing my weakness to Him. Man-effort failed. It always does. God awaits with true strength and courage, to those who will humbly turn and ask.

I awoke. Immediately I began to pray. I confessed a present personal solution attempt (a well-meaning man attempt) to a pressing real-life situation. Exposing my weakness and loss for a solution, I sought Divine help. It came in supernatural fashion in just over twenty-four hours!

"Strength is made perfect [mature or complete] in weakness." How does that make sense? We gain assurance (strength) when we exercise courage (freedom from fear and alarm) to expose our weakness (human limitations - yes, even men have limitations!). I need God. You need God. That is not weakness. It is our strength! He is our strength!

Too often, the tough-man face is a coverup for alarm or a lack of assurance. True men conquer the fear of exposure. Avoiding it is safe. It is easier to take matters into our own hands. It is easier to hide and stay in the comfort of our self-built concrete maze city. God calls men up into the wild. We respond, "I'm not 'into' outdoor stuff." How convenient. The wilderness exposes us; it tests us. However, our strength is made perfect in weakness.

Most of the great men of the Bible responded to God's call to the wild. They had a wilderness experience; a situation where they might be exposed. Jesus had His. He was tested. He conquered. Not on the strength of His human flesh, but upon the strength of the Word of God! Jesus responded to each wilderness testing with, "It is written...." We, too, can be conquering warriors, strong leaders, husbands, and fathers when we confess the weaknesses He exposes and we depend upon the conquering sword, the Word of God.

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Moses was nearing death. God directed Moses to appoint Joshua (a REAL MAN), to lead Israel into their new chapter of history: entering their promised land. Moses charges Joshua in the hearing of all Israel,

"Be strong and courageous, for you will accompany these people to the land that the LORD promised to give their ancestors, and you will enable them to inherit it. (Deuteronomy 31:7 NET)

Shortly thereafter, Moses dies. God appears unto Joshua and says,

“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them.... No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:2-9 NKJV, emphasis added)

Three times God commanded Joshua to be strong and very courageous. The command, tied to the Word of God, came with a promise: "For then YOU will make your way prosperous, and then YOU will have success." Who doesn't want that?! It's up to YOU! The plan and promise is simple. It is within the reach of every man. Man up! Answer God's call into the wild. Then, expect a greater reward! Strength is "well-assured." Courage is "not alarmed." That comes from God and His Word. Prayer and getting into the Word is vulnerability that comes with reward! Start by doing both at once: pray Psalm 27, a man's Psalm.


Blessings,

Galen J Thompson




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