Don't stop reading! I know you're about to tune me out. After all, what does some alien woman from Venus know about men's issues? Not much from an insider's perspective, but as one with a bird's eye view, I think you might be interested in what I have to say.
Until the advent of my nephews, my dad and husband were the most influential men in my life. (Now, my sisters' two yearlings possess some power to instantly erode my vocabulary back to primitive coos and cuddles.) My father and husband are my case studies. In them, I have been blessed to experience the impact of powerful, godly men. They have shaped me as a womangenetically, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
It's no surprise to anyone, least of all my male audience, that men have an ego. They have an innate need to exert control over their environment and have influence in their relationships. Let's call this "manpower". Two significant components of manpower are purpose and passion. A man thrives knowing his purpose in life and that purpose is propelled by his passion. Without either of these qualities, a man risks feeling impotent in the spheres of family, work and friendships as well as his self-perception.
Recently, we celebrated my dad's 60th birthday. Desperate for a new take on the traditional party, something unexpected and not too overwhelming, my mother, sisters and I settled on a card party. We sent invitations to more than 70 people that know my dad and asked them to send a birthday card mentioning a favorite memory or thought about him.
More than 60 cards arrived in time for his birthday. As we sat around the table listening to my dad read the touching sentiments, my brother-in-law remarked, "I am pretty sure I don't even know 60 people who would feel compelled to send me a birthday card, let alone include some kind of specific thought about how I'd impacted their lives."
It's true. Over the course of two nights, we watched Daddy open and read letter after letter from people he has worked with, bumped into, taught in Sunday school, coached their kids' ball teams, participated in Rotary and served on boards with. Every letter was filled with a reflection of the passion which compelled him to reach into so many lives.
Four cards in the stack were from my sisters and me. For over 34 years, Daddy has poured his passion for Jesus, for life and for the Gospel into us. A telling sign of his intense passion are the tears that brim in his eyes with every prayer over his family.
Other examples of his passion are Dad's tireless work to provide for his family, to take care of his employees, listen patiently to wounded hearts, attend hours long church meetings and faithfully take my mom on special dates and long weekends. Passion motivates my father and through his passion he has effectively exercised a powerful influence in the lives of many people.
The Bible calls men to act on their passion. Ephesians 6:7 says, "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people," and Colossians 3:23 echoes, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters". There is no room for passionless men in the powerful work of Christ's kingdom on earth.
Purpose is no less important and while my dad most certainly possess this trait, I see it most definitively in my husband. One week ago, he called me from work with startling news.
"I'm deploying to Liberia in 2-4 weeks to help fight Ebola."
That was it. A simple sentence with no preamble, just the simple truth that he had been called to duty by his country and no amount of displeasure, fear, arguing or crying could dissuade him.
My husband exemplifies a profound sense of purpose beyond that of his peers. It's summed up in The Infantry Man's Creed:
Never will I fail my country's trust.
Always will I fight on
through the foe, to the objective, to triumph over all.
If necessary I will fight to my death.
By my steadfast courage I have won 200 years of freedom.
I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds.
For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight.
I forsake not my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty.
Taken from "The Infantry Man's Creed"
The short notice stunned me. I felt weak in the knees and angry at the Army for a moment. But in mere seconds, my husband's sense of purpose infused me with courage in my own right. A man's purpose gives him the power to do thatto lead his family fearlessly and to instill in them a courage not based on circumstances but founded in a confident heart surrendered to God's calling and convinced of God's goodness.
The Bible speaks of purpose. This is not merely a man's feeble attempt to lend significance to his own life. Psalm 20:4 says, "May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans!" And Psalm 90:17 says, "Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,and establish the work of our hands upon us;yes, establish the work of our hands!"
The Heavenly Father places in each man a heart desire, an intense yearning to establish a legacy. His word encourages this and invites men into relationship with God through Jesus so that their lives may be truly influential.
Every man longs to discover his own manpower, to live with purpose and passion and experience fulfillment. God's Word will lead every man who seeks the Lord to develop these qualities in his own life.
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