There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to Step Up.
For some it is the first job they get, when they get married, or they have children. I fear there may be an epidemic of mass proportions taking over this country. I worry that we have created a culture that lacks service to others in favor of serving oneself. This is a dangerous time for men in America, we have created a culture where men don’t feel like they need to step up. Many men opt for logging hours playing video games, watching TV, working late, while their spouse is lying in bed waiting for some intimacy. I don’t know about you but I have always had way more fun in bed with my spouse than any TV show or the best most addictive video game. Where have men’s priorities gone? Are we more worried about going out for a drink with our buds instead of spending and evening with our family being present and giving them our undivided attention. We as Men Must Stand Up!
I want to share with you a story.
This guy seemed to have it all: a beautiful wife, two great healthy kids, a good paying job, nice house, a nice car, and disposable income to go out and have fun. In my book this dude has it all! I mean what else do you need in life, there are people in third world countries that would give anything for the scraps on most Americans’ plates. This guy was not joyful, he was depressed, stressed, and filled with anxiety. Instead of going home to be with his loving wife and children he opted to stop by the bar to have just one drink, one drink, with his friends. Now in of itself having a drink with friends is not necessarily a problem; but it is a problem if you are doing it to avoid going home to spend time with your family. Well, this guy got caught up in going to the bar a couple times a week which led to his issue of avoidance with his family. It started off harmless but soon it became a way to escape from the life he had built for himself. This man had lost his joy and was now swimming in his own pool of self-medication and depression. He was drifting farther and farther away from his spouse and his family and he knew it. It got so bad that when he would come home the kids would be in bed and his wife wouldn’t even talk, she would just look at him and ask how his day was and he would respond with an uninspired— “Fine”. He didn’t know it yet but his life that looked so perfect to the outside world based on his Facebook post was about to fall apart. He had spent his time working hard for things he wanted for himself and his family but forgot who and why he was doing it.
I know you are probably thinking what an idiot this guy is, he had it all and was just throwing his marriage and family away. We all go through these periods of disillusionment within in our life where we lose touch with our priorities. We lose ourselves in the everyday struggles that the world throws at us and we lose our passion and joy. At times, it can seem so bleak that we may want to give up and delete everything so we can start with a new slate, but is that really the answer? Well the story of this guy is not over!
One day this man came home and his wife was waiting by the door and she confronted his behavior because she knew he was avoiding her. As he opened the door she said she wanted to talk, which surprised the man, much like a kid getting caught doing something wrong. As he sat his wife gently said that she knew things were not going well and if things didn’t change she feared separation. The man was shocked he thought everything was— “FINE”. She expressed in desperation that she needed him to go on a retreat weekend with her if he wanted to save his marriage and family.
There is a point in everyone’s life where there is an important choice that can make such a profound impact on your life that you know you have only one option and this was one of those moments. He told his wife he would go begrudging.
The day came and their they drove to the hotel, on the way down all he could think about was missing a pivotal NFL game. Priorities, right? As he entered the conference room his heart was not open, but he stayed at the retreat and something transformed him. It was like a light turned on in his brain and more importantly in his heart. He was a man that never showed much emotion to his wife, but on that weekend, he opened up his heart and shared with her his true feelings. He shared his fears, desires, and dreams. On that weekend, he showed her that he still loved her and realized he had lost his joy. But his joy was right in front him, it was his wife. He realized how much he loved his kids and that he wanted to become a present father that could lead, teach, and inspire his children. He understood he had a lot of work to do on himself, and that he needed to implement many changes. That idiot that was worried about missing a football game left that weekend a changed man. He Stepped Up! That man was me!
I share this story because I know most men go through times in their lives where they don’t feel like they’re contributing, that they’re just trapped, that they aren’t good enough, that they should be able to do whatever they want, and my favorite: I hate my job. These periods of disillusionment don’t have to last long if we can be aware that they are happening. We need to be conscious when this happens and work hard with intent to change our attitudes and behaviors. By doing this we can become more joyful in our everyday lives. When I stepped up by changing my behaviors and attitude I discovered more joy that I could ever imagine. The world brings stress and anxiety but we must be alert and stop to appreciate our blessings during these trying times. We must be joyful and appreciate the true blessings we have in our wife and children. I encourage you to be courageous and find your joy. You can live a fulfilled life where you can look for opportunities to encourage and inspire yourself and the ones you love. We must embrace the struggles that life challenges us with. These struggles shape us and make us stronger, fueling us to grow and stretch in ways we never thought possible.
My friends, be courageous in your life’s journey, embrace the struggle, find your joy, continually motivate yourself, and everyday help to encourage and serve others.
Now Men Let’s All Together STEP UP!!