Saturday, January 31, 2015

Stand Up and Be the Man you alreay are...

      I constantly hear comments about men being real men,  meaning that society has a value placed on what a man should be and there we are.  If you are not that man you tend to feel inadequate and inferior to others.  I have struggled with that my whole life.  As the world judges, we often judge ourselves and we are often subject to the demands made on us while we are young and sometimes those demands make a lasting imprint on our mental health.  As young boys we are frequently told when we do things that real men don't do that, or don't be a sissy, or that is so feminine.  Or bolder remarks like don't be a pussy or wuss.   We are laughed at and made fun of if we don't fit the typical mold of what a man should be.  It starts young and continues throughout our lives.  As we reach young teen years we are bombarded with what a real man does, from playing sports to spitting and if we don't do these well we are thought less of and made to feel incompetent and our self esteem drops. On top of that there is what a real man should look like,  something like super man with a huge ego.  If you are to fat, to skinny, short, not healthy, or just normal you feel out of place.

     Many deal with the fact of not reaching puberty early while others seem to be born there already and those that are there can make life hard for those that haven't quit reached the mark. To make matters worse some are endowed with what society would have you believe, better equipment.  Those with less are made to feel that some how they are not a complete man.  One of the cruelest places on earth can be the locker rooms at school.  Cruel remarks are made and at that most impressionable time hearts are damaged and the damage can be for life.

    The teen years can be hard as one trys to fit in that does not fit the man mold.   They stand back and  watch the muscle, handsome guys get all the dates and have all the fun while they sit at home feeling miserable because they just don't fit in.   Teenagers do a lot of comparing and during those hard years impressions are made that take a life time to get over.

    After the teen years comes the young adult years entering into manhood.  The conflict can get worse as now society places tremendous value on work and not only work but money.  The more money you make the better man you must be.  Be a man, they say, work hard and you will make it.  Those that work hard and don't "make it" feel down and begin to question just how good of a man they really are.

     It seems an endless battle to say the least.  We grow up feeling that we just cannot reach the mark. Life is hard at its best.  Those that are tender and feminine have a harder struggle.  Knowing that they are different and having the world throw it at them makes it difficult and often impossible  to feel like a real man or confident in who they are.

   So with all this going on just how do we measure a real man?  I believe that it has nothing to do with how we look, where we work,  how much money we have or make,  whether or not we like sports, how vulgar we can be.  I think it does have to what is in our hearts.  I think it has to do with being true to who you really are.  I think is has to do so much with what God has in store for us and his plan for us.

    A while back I had an interesting experience.  I was going  through one of those pity phases in my life.  You know just what I mean.  Feeling sorry for myself and for where I was in life.  I was walking on a school campus at the time grumbling in my mind and out of the blue I had one of the strongest impressions I have ever had and I felt the words come into my heart and mind with such force I could not ignore them.  It was more like a command than a thought.  The command was loud and clear,       " Stand up and be the man you already are".  I have thought about that so much since that experience.  For me it was a call to repent and to recognize who I was and be that man.  No need to recreate who I was,  just to be the man I already am and to stand tall and know that I am a son of God with unlimited potential.   Don't get me wrong,  I still have those days, but often I feel the words come back into my mind and it is a constant reminder to me that I am a son of God and he is mindful of me.  If we put our lives in his hand and ask for his guidance how can we complain with the result.  We have to trust in him that he knows best for us and will guide and direct our paths in such a way that we can really be type of men he wants us to be.

     How can I complain and think less of who I am when I know that I am a creation of God and he created me with my uniqueness for a purpose.   I am not a typical man as far as the world is concerned, but I know that God loves the man I am and there is a purpose behind his work.  Yes it is frustrating at times to try to understand his design, but often times as we look back in life we can see perfectly what he had in mind.  It's the looking ahead that gets us down.  So I try to look back and see his plan and have faith in his future plan for me.

     So is what I am really saying to all you men out there is to "Stand up and be the Great Men You already are".  You can be tender and great,  you can love sports and be great,  you can love poetry and music and be great, no matter what you are if you focus your life on doing good and loving others and sharing your unique gifts with others, what ever they are, you can find peace and joy and you will come to understand the great plan God has for you.  We are sons of God and each one of us has the potential to do great things, and remember the greatest things we do are the ones that lift those around us to a better place.

    Standing up and being the men we already are has nothing to do with income, looks, how tall or short we are, what kind of car we drive, where we live, how we are built, or any of the false standards of the world.  It has so much to do with how we treat and respect ourselves, how we treat and respect others, how we serve, how we love,  and most of all our personal relationship with the Savior.

     I am ever grateful for lessons learned in life and am grateful of the loud reminder I was given to "Stand up and be the man I already am".   Does that mean I am perfect, absoluty not, but it does mean that I have the potential to be better.

Have a great day.  Brad

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