Sunday morning I was in a funk. I was exhausted from giving to others and now I was emotionally and physically drained.
I’d spent a good portion of Saturday helping the son of a friend of mine. He was a 14-year-old from Virginia who had read my book and wanted to meet. After listening to him, I explained the issue of same-sex attractions. I focused my counsel on how we, as men, can be fearful and lack the confidence in “being a man.”
I challenged him as I have many.
Anyone who has met with me will tell you I’m a very blunt truth-teller—I don’t throw soft balls and I don’t over-spiritualize things. The guys I’ve worked with tend to live with secrets, which means, they live a fear-based life. If someone is living with secrets, that’s where I start, because we’re as sick as our secrets. Living without secrets is what much of my life is based on. If, on the other hand, a guy is being open on some level (like a teen is talking with his parents), then I typically direct him to push past his fears. In other words, when I meet with people, regardless of their age, I try to discern what they need at that point and move forward from there.
I regularly communicate my belief that God created men to be warriors—spirit, soul, and body. Men need to be challenged in every area of their lives so they can overcome obstacles, gain greater confidence, and GROW into their God-given masculine identity. If a man is capable of exercising, I tell him he needs to physically develop himself as a warrior—especially if he’s idolizing men.
Some guys who talk with me want to stop worshiping guys, but they don’t want to do anything more than pray. They don’t want to do the HARD work. If a man doesn’t want to do the hard work, then it’s VERY difficult for him to mature, if not impossible. Few have listened and followed my counsel to grow into being the man God designed them to be. But there are those men who heard the call, who moved, and whose lives have radically changed. How? Their stories are unique, but each man brought his secrets into God’s Light, shared those secrets with a safe group of men, and moved past his fears. Those three areas of hard work build-up his confidence as a man—as the warrior he was created to be!
It baffles me when men, who haven’t even done the hard work, think I’m crazy and say, “It didn’t work.” In addition to not doing the work, their definition of “it” working or “change” was, obviously, not realistic. Training-up your warrior-spirit does not mean you won’t continue to struggle with same-sex attractions to some degree. Maturing as a man does mean you will be able to breathe, gain confidence as a man, and feel great about yourself. You can even feel amazing!
My friend who sent her son to talk with me said, “McKrae, there are a ton of counselors up here I could have sent him to, but I know how you are. I know you will tell him what he needs to hear that will show him how to mature—how to grow-up to be a strong man and a man of God.”
The way I’ve grown as a warrior is by taking my own “do-the-hard-work-medicine” everyday—even when I don’t feel like it.
I know that running is one of the best things for me. Did I want to yesterday? NO!! But I did the hard thing, anyway. While running, I wanted to stop and walk, but I didn’t. Why? One reason was because I kept hearing over and over in my mind what Seth’s cross-country coach, Steve Conway, and my wife, Julie have said, “There’s no walking in cross-country!” I kept running and didn’t surrender to the temptation to walk.
I’m thankful I have people in my life to encourage me. The warrior-challenge I’ve been talking about comes from the book, Growth Into Manhood, by one of my past mentors, Alan Medinger. There are other men I look up to who’ve inspired me.
On one occasion, while my son was in karate, I was attempting to encourage him by attending a black-belt test, which in turn, inspired me. In four years, I earned my own black-belt, started weight lifting, and ran a marathon. I moved. I pushed myself in many ways to press past my fears and grow as a man.
How about you?
Do you need to move? Do you live with secrets? Do you live a fear-based life? MOVE! If you don’t move, then you will continue existing as “the walking dead.” Get The Transparent Life, read it and put it to work in your life. Get the secrets out and keep them out. And get off your butt and move! Build-up the muscles God gave you. Learn to be a warrior, because if attacked, would you be able to stand in the gap and defend yourself, your family, or a stranger? Or is the best you could do is dial 911 and hide? If you could only do the latter, then the real question is: Do you want to change?
If you do want to change, then surrender your fears to the Lord and move forward in faith, pushing past the fear!
Yesterday morning, I pushed myself and talked myself through. I prayed and asked God for help and encouragement. There’s a street I typically avoid because of dogs, but I decided to run down that street in order to get past my fear. I was praying. Not one dog.
On the last stretch, I felt good and kept pushing. Entering the neighborhood, I said, “I can run faster,” and I did! Passing the 3.1 mark at the stop sign, hit the stopwatch—26:26. I’ve run faster, but this was MY time and I felt great!
This morning I almost didn’t run again, because my legs hurt, but I pushed past the pain. I also decided to run because it helps me with anxiety and makes me feel great. It was NOT easy, though. The street with the dogs wasn’t as easy today. There were five dogs that charged me, but they let me go by. However, one little dog was trying to bite my ankles. Like the day before, I wanted to stop, but instead I pushed harder. Today’s time? 24:53. Improved my best time by four seconds! (Not bad for 47 years old!) To top it all off, I went back to the gym this morning, and I have started working on returning to something I stopped 4 years ago—something that, in many ways, scares me. Karate!
Are you ready to join me? I hope so! Let’s MOVE!
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
P.S. I was thrilled to learn today that the young man I counseled on Saturday has not only agreed to enroll in martial arts, as I had strongly suggested, but his dad is also going to join him! Way to go guys! Its hard work, but OH SO WORTH IT! That’s how to MOVE!