One year ago, I started writing this men’s blog. My first entry was on November 20th, 2018 and the title was Grace Before the Race. In it I talked about having an others mindset and practicing humility. Over the past 12 months I have been so blessed to have the chance to write these articles. The goal is to let men know that even though we go through difficult times, that we are not in this fight alone. The more transparent we are with one another, the greater chance we have to be set free from what is holding us back from becoming the warrior that God created us to be. We are called to be leaders!
Andre Wadsworth is one of my best friends and years ago he told me that “Real recognizes real”. To me that means people will see through your baloney so you may as well be a truth telling man of God. One who looks to help others and not some snake oil selling turd who is always looking out for himself. If you are trying to hide something, eventually it will come to light no matter how matter how hard you try to keep it buried. At one time all of us have worn a mask of some sort to keep people from knowing what is truly going on in our lives. It’s time to take the mask off and ask someone close to you for help.
“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.”Luke 8:17 (NLT
Wearing these different masks gets difficult over the years. People who do this are always having to remember the lies they tell others so they can keep their story straight. Most of the time the masks are worn to hide a deeply rooted pain or hang up we have that we don’t want others to know about. It is embarrassing and we think people will not respect us anymore if they find out. If you wear the mask long enough you end up building walls around yourself for protection. Now no one can get in. This is probably done for personal safety, but someone else gets inside those walls with you, and his goal is to destroy you.
Walls are built for several reasons. They provide us shelter, protection, and privacy. These are all good and necessary things for us as human beings. I know I don’t want everybody all up in my business. I am a private person by nature, probably because I have been burned by others in the past. We can all relate to that. The name William means “great protector” and my family will attest to that. You don’t mess with the Hortons. However, walls also have another distinct feature. They are constructed with the plan of them being permanent. Walls don’t move.
Building up emotional walls is the way we keep others out. We look at them to keep our lives private, but they really are just sheltering us from the truth. We need help. The devil is described in the bible as a roaring lion who is looking for someone to devour. His plan to destroy you starts with the lies he speaks about how “You’re not good enough.” and “How could you do that?” or “That is unforgivable!”. That leads us to shut others out which hatches the next step in his plan. He gets you alone, in a solitary and vulnerable place. That is when he goes in for the kill.
“Be sober-mided; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”1 Peter 5:8
Boundaries and walls have some similar qualities. They both establish something that limits people from crossing that area. Think of an athletic event and almost all of them have an out of bounds. If the player or the ball they are using goes into that area they are considered no longer in the field of play. As a person when I set up personal boundaries, I am essentially telling you that I am open to communication, but just don’t cross the line. This protects us from disclosing more information than we are comfortable with. It is a way to protect ourselves, just like a wall would. However, the main difference is that boundaries can be moved.
When I set up boundaries, I can easily make changes to them. A great example is my testimony. I am not going to spill my guts to everyone about all the things that have happened in my life. Reliving all that drama is zero fun. The only reason I tell anyone what I have gone through is to help them. When a buddy is struggling with pornography, I can share how I overcame the desire to look at that smut over a decade ago. I gained victory in that area of my life and it prepared me for meeting my wife. I decide how much I want to share with others, and I keep the lines of communication open.
The devil isn’t stupid. He knows that God has an amazing plan for all of us to live out in this world. If he can keep you from fulfilling that plan, he wins. He doesn’t care about you. In fact, the devil is jealous of us because at one time he was in communion with God, but his lust for power got him cast out of heaven. God dropped a Hulk Hogan sized butt whoopin’ on him and told all of his buddies to beat it as well. When God created us, he did it in His image and the devil hates everything that looks like, smells like and especially acts like God.
The devil is out to destroy us, but God created people to love and help one another. Setting up boundaries is a healthy thing but remember to be flexible with them. We are in this together, so make sure to reach out to loved ones when you need help. That also gives them the confidence to do the same thing when they need you.
Here are some things to think about this week and apply to your life:
- Surround yourself with a group of men that you trust.
- Give people permission to speak into your life and hold you accountable.
- Create healthy boundaries to maintain a level of privacy for yourself and your family.
- Practice truth and honesty.
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