Everybody dreams about being important.
Everyone aspires to do big things, I think, and even though we have varying ideals of just what success can mean, there is a desire within us to want to achieve.
Every guy wants to know that he is worth something. That he can be competent and successful. That he can be a hero to the woman of his dreams.
There is definitely something that happens to a guy when he starts noticing girls for the first time...call it hormones, or growing up or whatever you'd like, but guys want that significance. They want to be noticed.
That's why it's so terrifying to be at that middle school dance, looking at that one special girl from across the room, and getting up the courage to walk across to see if she wants to dance with you.
If she acquiesces he walks away victorious with his head held high; if she declines it could be days before he gets the confidence to try again.
Ever since I can remember noticing girls, I've wanted to find that significance in a relationship with one. I've wanted to be a hero to her. There is an longing that I feel in me whenever I watch the superhero movie, when I see the hero saving the girl. The way she looks at him. That's something every guy (whether he is willing to admit it or not) wants deeply. That look of deep respect and admiration.
This is not to say that the woman needs to be helpless and frail. Not at all. This longing in a guy's heart is not to be dominant over a woman but, rather, to be respected and loved and appreciated for the things he brings to the relationship.
I don't want a woman who is "weak" and can't function properly without me but, rather, someone I can share my story and adventure with. Someone I can hold up when she's weak, and someone who can compliment me when I'm not strong enough to do this life thing on my own.
The yin to the yang.
This world is so confusing with the messages it presents to young guys about what it takes to be a 'man'. It tells us we can't cry, can't feel anything. That we have to do 'macho' things, pump iron, have abs like Bruce-Fking-Lee. That it's funny to burp and fart in front of the ladies.
The thing that saddens me the most is the low view of women that American society crams down a young guy's throat on a daily basis. To be a real man, apparently, you have to look at porn, go to the strip club, or score with as many drunken girls at a party as possible. Be an asshole. It pays, and besides girls go for the bad boys anyway, right?
Chivalry is dead.
Nice guys finish last.
I was exposed to world's idea of 'manhood' as early as seventh grade. I grew up assuming that this was the way you treat a woman. Yes, my dad was in the picture, but I was way too embarrassed to ask him about any of this. We mostly talked politics or band. Subjects I was comfortable with.
By high school, I thought it was the norm just to look at women for what they could potentially offer me. It was super selfish really, and the irony was that it never satisfied. See, the trouble with what the world says that it takes to be a 'real man' is that it rarely ever takes into account the other person's feelings, their fears, desires and hopes. By basing a relationship off of sheer physical attraction, it diminishes the entire person into an object. I was never filled.
I was a parasite.
Once one was used up, I moved on to the next one.
I always did the leaving too. To be honest with you the reason behind this was actually fear. Deep down inside I knew I didn't have what it took to be a man for these girls; so I avoided commitment as much as possible, and always did the dumping when it was a relationship. It was a defense mechanism. It hurt a lot of people too.
Here's something I am learning though... Jesus has a completely different idea of love, manhood and how a man should treat a woman.
He didn't try to score on the woman at the well, or the woman caught in adultery.
He didn't try to get a few drinks in them to 'loosen them up' a bit and, let's face it folks, Lord knows at the well he could've turned enough water into wine to get her seriously tipsy!
What did he do?
One he talked to. He told her all about herself. He knew her down to the last detail and he still cared for her, flaws and all. The other he defended. He stood up for her when the world was throwing stones, tearing her down, and telling her that she is not good enough.
I want to be that sort of man. We need men like that, I think.
There are those who'd say that the Christian worldview on the roles of men and women is repressive to the female gender.
I'd wholeheartedly disagree.
The more I understand about God and his heart for humankind I have discovered a new found appreciation for the Eves of this world. This worldview presents a woman, not as an object for mere procreation, nor as a piece of property, but rather the crowning of all creation. A beauty that is unmatchable in the whole entire earth!
I think that's why guys can be so intimidated in her presence, so daunted, and wonder if they have what it takes to fight and die for her. It is why we have this longing. To be the men that we were meant to be.
Ladies, I'd be lying to you if I said I have it all together. I'm far from a real man right now, and I still continue to make many mistakes along the way. I'm still trying to learn what it takes to be the kind of man Christ was. I'm learning to let go of the guilt and the shame I carry from prior years, due to the hurt and injuries I've caused others.
I pray that you know that I am striving each day to become a man who is worthy to fight for your honor. To protect you and love you with everything I am, and will be.
I'm not there yet, I've still got some growing up to do. I make mistakes, and more often than I'd like I'm afraid. But I will continue to fight to be the hero you need, and the hero that I long to be.
To be heroes, young guys need solid fathers and mentors to show them what it takes not only to honor women, but to be a man who wholeheartedly pursues Christ. Check out this cool organization that author Donald Miller started in response to the fatherless generation!