You have probably heard so many words describing all of the ways you are failing. You’ve heard that you either aren’t empowering enough or that you don’t have enough of a backbone. You either don’t know how to pursue, or you move too fast. You are either are too confident or too timid, too successful or not successful enough, too overbearing or not invested enough.
A Fatherless Generation
In this fatherless generation, most of you had to define masculinity on your own. Even those of you who had a father figure, your image of masculinity was shaped by the message of advertisement, the entertainment industry and recent cultural movements. You probably had few examples to look up to, and even fewer godly men to mentor you.
Pornography, homosexuality and infidelity became the norm instead of the exception. The goal of being “on top” was esteemed so highly that it seemed to justify the means. Countless examples have shown that you could get away with overpowering or even violating the very people you were called to protect.
Strength was defined as being unbreakable, untouchable, unaffectable. Strong men don’t cry. Strong men don’t ask for help. Strong men don’t admit to any weakness. Strong men push through and don’t rest until it’s done.
In the midst of all of this, there’s a movement starting that’s redefining masculinity. We have seen it happening around us. We are surrounded by men who have so clearly stepped into who they are that they are causing a ripple effect. We see strong men that are moved by compassion, dare to be undignified in their worship like king David, and are tender-hearted towards the ones they love. We see you and we thank you for the gift that you are.
Vulnerability and Strength
The truth is that you are allowed to have needs. You are allowed to be human. You are allowed to be tired, and ask for help. True, lasting strength comes from your ability to lean on God. When you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, you are invited into His Presence to rest and refill. Vulnerability is not the opposite of strength, it is an expression of it.
An offensive Jesus
You also have full permission to be unapologetic in your strength. You are allowed to be bold. Jesus, the greatest example of true masculinity, was too! He offended people with truth. He turned tables upside down. He broke every rule in the book in order to defend the weak. He sat in the dirt with sinners. He had dinner with prostitutes and frauds. He spat in the mud to heal a man’s eyes. He got angry. He told some highly-esteemed leaders that they were dead inside. He challenged the rich man to sell everything, and didn’t make any concession when he didn’t return.
The church flannels may have taught us otherwise, but Jesus wasn’t the soft man with purple linen robes, blue eyes and a perfectly curled beard. This softening of the Gospels doesn’t reflect the Jesus that Matthew, Luke and John wrote about.
Jesus as a Man
Jesus was a man. He was bold, and fierce, and honest, and protective, and strong. He was also kind, and gentle. He played with little kids. He let twelve men become his best friends. He retreated often to talk with His Father. He wept when His cousin died. His heart was moved when a woman gave Him a year’s wages to show her dedication to Him. He was tender-hearted, and strong. He was both. And so are you.
You don’t have to apologize for your strength, boldness and power. The world needs you to be a man. You don’t have to shrink in order to make space for others. You don’t have to decrease your masculinity in order to encourage and empower others.
Called to Thrive
You are needed in this world, so it’s time to dream again. Many of you have felt that you needed sacrifice your passion in order to fulfill your obligations and responsibilities. God wants you to be fully alive. He wants you to not merely survive and provide, but to thrive. He is calling you to become a man who is walking out his divine purpose alongside of your passion. God wants you to have both: passion AND purpose.
Your strength is a gift, and God isn’t worried that you’ll build your own kingdom of power. He believes in your ability to fiercely protect what He has given you. He sees your heart to pull others up, to fight for justice, to pursue what God has called you to.
We, as women, see your heart, too. We’re sorry for all the times that we’ve made you feel like you weren’t good enough for us. We ask for forgiveness for the high demands we put on you. We never want to make you feel like you lost the game before you even started. It’s time that we, as women, start supporting and championing you, like you do for us.
We’re amazed by your strength and your kindness. We celebrate your unwavering desire to get to the top of whatever mountain you’ve claimed as your own. We believe in you, we know that you’ll get there.
Resetting the standard
God wants to breathe life into your dreams. He wants to redefine strength for you. Take your boldness to stand in faith, declaring that you will believe His promises.
There’s enough time left to become the man you are called to be. You are not behind on the timeline of success. You are right where you’re supposed to be and you have what it takes.
We can’t wait to see what you will do with what you’ve been given. Your life is a reflection of the Jesus who has fiery eyes and an open embrace. You represent Him well, and you will set an example for your sons, grandsons and many other young men that are watching you.