It is a muggy Friday night. A group of 10 semi-famished men, varying in ages from 20 to 30, sits in the sparsely furnished living room of a "new-to-me" apartment. The scuffed parquet floor bounces our voices off any solid surface, reverberating the news: The revolution has begun.
It started with a summer men’s group focusing on John Eldredge’s book, Wild At Heart. After meeting for two months, we decided to close out with an evening in town discussing the last chapter of the book over a plate of spicy man-food and heading out to a late movie. It gave our group one last evening of bonding before starting the new school year.
The discussion ran long—whether by chance or divine intervention, the dinner was not cooking at the normal speed. God was in our rice that night—stretching out our time together, urging us and cheering us to open up and speak truth.
Our discussion had been jumping from discussions on wounds from our past to our current struggles with life, and finally to our outlook on the future. On more than one instance, members talked of a campaign to return to honesty—an approach to simpler, more centered living starting from the ground up … one man at a time. The term "grassroots" has always stirred up a fire in my belly. The thought of real, tangible people doing real, honest work that is directly visible in the community at hand has always been a gripping idea to me. Before long, our group was in a philosophical frenzy. The thought of actually taking charge and living the way the Bible has shown us (and have failed to do so many times before) was more intoxicating than the hot sauce and light beer we called our dinner.
Obstacles, however, seem to crop up from every side once the raw electricity of a new idea has faded away.
We were all somewhat wary of our individual abilities, given our respective and collective track records. We discussed our feelings on the multiple ways we can and do fall short as men—from our fears of rejection on a social and romantic level to our fears of inadequacy to even our fears of spiritual communion and the vulnerability thereof. We began to throw out sentences like, "We should" this or "We need to" that. Grand ideas. Nothing terribly new, but certainly a reversal in both personal and collective dogma. Execution was the trick, and it would not come without significant upheaval. All of a sudden, it became clear: we needed a revolution. The "shoulds" and "need tos" and "ought tos" became imperative. They became "wills." We declared the start of the revolution on Friday at approximately 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The revolution, in its barest essence, is based on the desire to stop running. From struggle. From uncomfortable situations. From ourselves.
We’ve become a generation of runners.
The easiest way to avoid rejection is to avoid conflict. Whether we accomplish this by shoving others away, allowing others to wipe their feet on us, or throwing up an impenetrable wall of testosterone, it’s all a part of the same defense mechanism. We’re scared of ourselves.
Eldredge wrote, "Sometimes the world needs to feel the weight of you." This, in essence, is the principle found behind all the talk of revolution. This weight comes not from our own human thoughts, but from the plans and hopes of the Creator. We were made to be men in His image, but we’ve become shadows of our possible selves. The world sees an outline of a man, but the details are lost in the darkness. We are now returning to where we came from in order to find that which has eluded us for so long.
The revolution is this:
[-] Asking God to reveal what He wants for us—and having the courage to listen and follow through.
[-] Knowing the details of living should not rule our lives—there is a bigger picture out there.
[-] Knowing we are faced with decisions on a daily, hourly basis—small decisions that when added up over the course of a lifetime can make or mar the picture of what we were created to be.
[-] Having the courage to make the right decisions in those infinite instants—and trust we will have the courage to follow God’s true heart.
We must remember that the world is not about us. The easy way out is almost always the selfish way out. Honesty and integrity grow cloudy and distant when we are blinded by the proximity of easy, temporal comfort and stress-free, hollow financial security. Knowing the difference between the "now" and the "ever after" is key to living the revolution. This knowledge needs to come from something that doesn’t have corporate sponsorship, instant rebates or a three-year warranty.
The world has become overrun with men who have lost their gumption—their manly, spiritual mojo. Men without spines. Men willing to do whatever it takes to avoid risk and conflict.
We’re all guilty of this.
We’re not proclaiming the death of selfishness or greed. We are not so shallow or boastful as to proclaim we will heretofore be free of sin and corruption. But we’re making a conscious effort to realize that the "good life" is not found in the majority of things proclaiming to bring us just that. The same goes not only for material goods, but internal feelings and boundaries as well. Adultery, pornography, ruthlessness, betrayal and dishonesty are all arrows that pierce our hearts daily. They taunt us, mock us and tempt us, trying to convince us that our real life is solely comprised of the "here and now."
In short, the revolution is not about us. It’s about who God asks us to be for Him.
Viva la revolution.
BUY IT: WILD AT HEART
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