A lot of new and interesting concepts have come my way through the submissions I receive as a Lead Editor at The Good Men Project. Touching on various topics, ranging from the importance of family to childhood trauma, many are the times that I have sat back in my dining room chair (where I work) and pondered the mysteries of the universe (or at least those of my teeny-tiny world).
I must admit, spirituality has been on my mind quite a bit, lately. I have seen some great submissions that touch on the subject, but it is, perhaps, the craziness of my own life that draws my attention to something bigger (and better) outside of myself for guidance and direction. It wasn’t that long ago that I went over the 12-Steps with my men’s recovery group at my rehab unit. We discussed ‘prayer’ as a way to deal with issues around stress and coping and it was absolutely galvanizing for me.
We discussed not only the importance of believing in something besides ourselves but prayer’s power to overcome struggle and self-doubt. The importance of having a spiritual foundation to draw upon as a moral compass was also entertained. Most importantly, though, we discussed how to pray correctly. My immediate reaction to that concept? “There is a correct way to pray?”
Like most good Catholic boys, I always approached prayer in unadulterated supplication. “God, you are awesome and I totally suck at the moment. Please help me out cause I am pretty useless right now.” Okay, maybe the nuns didn’t teach me to do it that way, exactly. I am pretty sure that was the gist of it, though.
What ‘the boys’ and I discussed, however, was something different. The marvelous curriculum my facility uses spelled out a very different formula for prayer that was hardly so self-deprecating. Actually, it was empowering. Who knew?
What we learned was how to approach prayer from the perspective of addiction. We shouldn’t ask God (as we know him) to swoop down in a deux machina fashion and take away our problems. Instead, we must ask for the strength and guidance to deal with our problems and make better decisions. This idea isn’t novel at all, really. It is, however, to someone with an addictive mind, whose propensity tends to avert responsibility and accountability, pushing these things, as well as blame, onto others.
If you really think about it, there have been many instances where answers to prayers and fixes “from beyond” have come into our lives at the most opportune of moments. Unfortunately, a lot of the time our eyes have not been open enough to see them for what they are. Existing in crisis tends to do that, throwing us into severe cases of tunnel vision. One of the questions that were posed was that if God cared about us, why doesn’t he take away our suffering. My answer? “Because he does.” Wiping our slates clean in a snap teaches us nothing. Where is the growth in that?
In the end, it is through our blunders, stumbles, and outright falls that we develop wisdom. So, by going through hard times with divine help, we develop and grow as individuals. Ultimately, we evolve into better versions of ourselves. Isn’t that what any loving parent would want for their children?
I would hope so.
What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to discuss, gain insights, build communities— and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join below!
Join the Conscious Intersectionality FACEBOOK GROUP here. Includes our new call series on Human Rights.
Join The Good Men Project Community
All levels get to view The Good Men Project site AD-FREE. The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission, and have a great ad-free viewing experience.
Register New Account
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request a new password if needed).
ANNUAL PLATINUM membership ($50 per year) includes:
1. AN ALL ACCESS PASS — Join ANY and ALL of our weekly calls, Social Interest Groups, classes, workshops, and private Facebook groups. We have at least one group phone call or online class every day of the week.
2. See the website with no ads when logged in!
3. MEMBER commenting badge.
ANNUAL GOLD membership ($25 per year) includes all the benefits above — but only ONE Weekly Social Interest Group and ONE class.
ANNUAL BRONZE membership ($12 per year) is great if you are not ready to join the full conversation but want to support our mission anyway. You’ll still get a BRONZE commenting badge, and you can pop into any of our weekly Friday Calls with the Publisher when you have time. This is for people who believe—like we do—that this conversation about men and changing roles and goodness in the 21st century is one of the most important conversations you can have today.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Photo credit: By PeopleImages @ iStock by Getty Images